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Five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, four-time World Champion Max Biaggi and four-time World Champion Hugh Anderson will become MotoGP Legends this season, with the Spaniard set to be inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame at Jerez, the Italian at Mugello and the New Zealander later in the year.
It was decided on the day he announced his retirement that Jorge Lorenzo would become a MotoGP Legend this season, and the Majorcan is the first of the three riders who will be inducted in 2020. Fittingly, the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto will play host; the venue at which he made his Grand Prix debut on his 15th birthday and where the final corner bears his name.
Lorenzo is one of the most successful riders of all time, taking his first win in 2003 and his 68th in 2018. Back-to-back 250cc Champion in 2006 and 2007, on pole in his first MotoGP race and becoming a winner third time out in the premier class prefaced Lorenzo’s biggest achievements in MotoGP as he then went on to take the World Championship in 2010, 2012 and 2015. He won those titles with Yamaha, with whom he accrued 44 wins, before a switch to Ducati in 2017. Lorenzo took three more stunning wins with the Italian marque before moving to Honda, later announcing his retirement from competition at the end of 2019.
“To be named a MotoGP Legend makes me extremely happy. When I began competing in this world, what I really aspired to do was to get into the World Championship. To be able to win races and then five World Championships is something that far outweighs what I expected, and to be a MotoGP Legend is something even more difficult to achieve. To be named a Legend means, apart from the titles, that you’ve left a mark on the people and history of this sport. I’d like to thank Dorna and the FIM for their support all these years, and for having included me in this special group of select riders.”
Max Biaggi made his first few Grand Prix appearances in the 250cc class 1991, and the Italian became a winner the very next season as he took his first victory. Two years later he would become Champion for the first time, and another few years after that would see him complete an awe-inspiring run of domination in the class as he became Champion in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997. He then moved up to the premier class and took a maiden victory in his rookie season, finishing second overall. From his 1998 debut in the premier class until his departure in 2005, Biaggi took 13 wins and was runner up in the Championship on three occasions. When he left Grand Prix racing, Biaggi moved to WorldSBK and took two World Championships there – 2010 and 2012 – and since retiring from competition, he has returned to the GP paddock at the helm of Sterilgarda Max Racing Team.
“I’m honoured to become a MotoGP Legend and know that my name will be up there forever with other important racers like Agostini, Aspar, Nieto, Sheene… I’m happy that my racing legacy will always be remembered and it’s a good feeling that knowing all of my years of hard work are still being recognised, even today. I would like to thank everyone who decided to give me this honour.”
Hugh Anderson will be the final inductee in 2020. Anderson made his first GP appearances in the 500cc and 350cc classes in 1960, taking a podium in the latter. Two years later he added the 125cc and 50cc classes to his resume, becoming a race winner in both. That set his course and for 1963 the New Zealander took on the 125cc and 50cc World Championships in earnest, taking the crown in each class. He retained the 50cc crown the following year to make it back-to-back titles and was third in the 125cc title fight, reversing that in 1965 as he regained the 125cc crown and was third in the 50cc class. Anderson retired in 1966 after taking an impressive 25 Grand Prix wins and four titles in just six years.
“How I felt when receiving the news? At first, apprehension: do my relatively modest achievements warrant this honour? Will I, can I, do justice to this invitation? Some hours later I felt a feelgood sensation envelope me. A gratification that after all this time the modern world has not forgotten the past and the riders of a very much different era still have some value. A question of the history of our sport being recognised at the highest level. Thank you.”
Lorenzo, Biaggi and Anderson now join a long list of greats that have been made MotoGP Legends that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, 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, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Kork Ballington, Dani Pedrosa, Stefan Dörflinger, Jorge Martinez and the late, great Nicky Hayden.
The racing career of a professional motorcycle racer can often take different paths, but there’s been a pattern emerging over the last few seasons…
The 2020 FIM Supersport World Championship looks set to feature more international talent than ever before, with a great deal of talent coming from the Moto2 World Championship. Big names will compete in what is one of the fiercest World Supersport Championship line-ups in recent memory, as well as the return of the most successful WorldSSP team. From the title-winning team in 2019 to established outfits looking to reclaim the title, 2020 is going to be a strong and competitive grid.
BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team have hired Andrea Locatelli for 2020, as the former Moto3 podium finisher and Moto2 top six contender makes his switch to World Supersport. The Italian is yet to know his teammate, but he will be joined in the Yamaha family by Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing). The South African is a former CEV Moto2 European Champion and had Moto2 experience across an array of chassis manufacturers.
Joining the aforementioned Locatelli and Odendaal on the grid from Moto2 is Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), the former Moto3 race winner making the switch from the MotoGP paddock to WorldSSP. Oettl will be eager to emulate the success of fellow former Moto2 compatriot Sandro Cortese, from 2018, when the German became Champion.
There’s been plenty of success for former Moto2 stars in WorldSSP, with Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) winning WorldSSP races having been in Moto2 for a season, back in 2013. Fellow British rider Gino Rea has also had much success in both paddocks before moving on to new things two seasons ago. Even the most successful WorldSSP rider of all time – Kenan Sofuoglu – experienced Moto2 action in 2011 and achieved a podium.
Other riders on the current grid who have been in Moto2 include Isaac Viñales, who ended the 2019 season with three consecutive podiums and became the first Spaniard in WorldSSP to do so since Joan Lascorz in 2010 at the Miller Motorsport Park, Misano and Brno. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) also appeared in six Moto2 races before making the switch to WorldSSP, whereas Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) became the first rider to win both a Moto2 race and a WorldSSP race (Silverstone 2010 and Monza 2012, respectively).
However, only Sandro Cortese in 2018 was able to win the Championship having come from Moto2 and in fact, nobody has come from the MotoGP paddock and won the WorldSSP title immediately besides Cortese. This will give the rookies from the Moto2 class a target to aim at in order to etch their names in history.
Riders from eleven different countries have been confirmed for the new season
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is just weeks away, with one of the strongest grids in recent memory all but confirmed for the top class. Last season four different countries achieved at least one race win, more than any year since 2014; yet it’s also a number that could be surpassed this season, with several countries aiming for the championship title itself. Leaving manufacturer allegiances aside, here is what fans around the world can expect in 2020.
In WorldSBK, the best represented country is once again the UK with seven riders, one more than in 2019. Four of the five factory teams will field UK riders in 2020: Kawasaki (Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes), Ducati (Chaz Davies and Scott Redding), BMW (Tom Sykes) and Honda (Leon Haslam); Leon Camier will be the sole British independent rider, after joining BARNI Racing. Funnily enough, Yamaha, whose works team is run by the UK-based Crescent Racing, will not feature any British riders across any of their five motorcycles (factory or independent).
Not straying too far, Ireland will remain a feature on the grid thanks to Eugene Laverty, now a member of the BMW Motorrad squad.
Italy remains the second country with the most riders on the grid: Marco Melandri and Alessandro Delbianco are replaced by Federico Caricasulo and Lorenzo Savadori, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi keeping his place in the championship.
But this year Spain will match them for that second spot, recovering the rider they lost in 2019. Xavi Fores returns to the championship and with that brings Spain’s tally up to three, completing an impressive trio alongside Álvaro Bautista and Jordi Torres.
The rest of countries that will feature on the grid have confirmed a single rider for 2020 at the time of writing. This includes well established names in the series, such as Michael van der Mark, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Loris Baz and (from the Spanish Round onwards) ‘Tati’ Mercado. Japan also remains on the grid, with Ryuichi Kiyonari handing over the reins to Takumi Takahashi.
Most exciting however is the addition of two nations to the 2020 line-up. The absence of U.S. riders from the permanent grid has been remedied this year with the arrival of the 24-year-old Garrett Gerloff to the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team. Maximilian Scheib, meanwhile, will become Chile’s first permanent representative in WorldSBK, after making a brief appearance in the series at the tail-end of 2018.
No German riders have been announced at the time of publication, an absence which is somewhat corrected by a strong presence in the World Supersport class (not to mention the return of Oschersleben to the calendar). Riders from 16 different countries have been announced for the middleweight grid, including South Africa, Indonesia and Sweden. WorldSSP300 will similarly be expected to feature a wide variety of nations, with every continent represented on last year’s permanent entry list.
Different prizes to be awarded in the 2020 season have been revealed
The British Talent Cup is set for a bigger season than ever next year, with the Cup expanding and the format changing. Some of the awards on offer have just been announced, with riders racing for the chance to win more than just points.
Per race, there is a prize fund covering first position to tenth and Dunlop are also offering the prize of front and/or rear tyres for those who finish on the podium. There is also a prize fund for the top three riders overall at the end of the season.
In addition, Dorna will choose a rider from the British Isles to compete in the 2021 FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship on the Road to MotoGP.
Two riders will also be chosen by Dorna to take part in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Selection Event for 2021.