3 June 2016
Alex Criville becomes an official 'MotoGP Legend'
“After winning the championship in '99 I think this is the happiest moment, there are no words for what I'm feeling right now” – Alex Criville.
Alex Criville, Spain's first 500cc/MotoGP champion, became an official MotoGP Legend during a ceremony on Friday at the Grand Prix of Catalunya.
A world champion in the 125cc class in 1989, Criville spent two winless seasons in 250cc before joined the premier-class in 1992, where he promptly became the first Spanish rider to win a 500cc race.
Two solid seasons with the Pons team earned him a place in the factory Honda squad, partnering Mick Doohan. The pair had a number of thrilling battles and between 1994 and 2001 Criville achieved 47 podiums, including 14 victories.
Crivillé's greatest achievement came in 1999 when he scored 267 points over 16 races to become Spain's first premier-class champion, breaking the domination of American and Australian riders.
“I enjoyed just riding bikes. It was not my dream to be a rider, because I was very young. But then my brother said: 'You have the ability to ride a bike. Maybe in the future you can be a rider'.
“I think one of the best moments of my career was when I came back home, and there were thousands and thousands of people there celebrating my title. In that moment I was like a legend.
“I want to say thank you to Dorna for all their work over these years. I'm so happy; it's great to join the best riders in history. It's very nice to get it at home in front of my friends and family.
“After winning the championship in '99 I think this is the happiest moment, there are no words for what I'm feeling right now.”
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was present to give Alex Crivillé his award.
“For me personally and for everyone working in MotoGP it is a great pleasure to have Criville as a MotoGP Legend,” Ezpeleta said. “Alex started in the championship before we started, but I've known him for many, many years. He always tries to do the best and he's a person who never gives up.
“Together with Valentino Rossi he is the only person who has won 125 titles and 500 titles. It's great to be here, we've been waiting all year for this. Myself and Dorna are very proud to give this award to Alex, he's an icon around the world.”
The list of official MotoGP Legends includes: Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Nicky Hayden, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees and Carlo Ubbiali.
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