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 - said Jorge Lorenzo: - 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…- said Max Biaggi - 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 indue 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? - said Hugh Anderson - 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.