Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of MotoGP commercial rights holder Dorna Sports, has sent his condolences to the family of Niki Lauda.

The Austrian, 'a true legend and one of the biggest characters in motorsport', passed away on Monday evening at the age of 70.

Ezpeleta, a friend of the triple F1 champion, said MotoGP was honoured to have Lauda visit the paddock and that Niki had been a 'great fan of our sport'.

"In Niki, I have lost a friend and someone with whom I had a very special friendship," Ezpeleta said.

"He was also a great fan of our sport, and someone we were honoured to have visit our paddock whenever he did.

"I send my deepest sympathies to his family and his children, my thoughts and the thoughts of our sport are with you.

"Niki will be incredibly missed by all those who knew him."

Lauda won his first F1 World Championship in 1975, overcoming life-threatening burns to win further titles in 1977 and 1984.