Randy Mamola will be the newest edition to the list of “MotoGP Legends” – an honor roll that serves as the World Championship Hall of Fame for motorcycle racing. Racing alongside some of the greatest names in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, Mamola is known best as the winningest GP rider never to win a GP championship, with 13 race wins and 57 podiums credited to his name. Mamola is as famous for his aggressive on-track riding style during the 1970s and 1980s, as he is for his generous contributions to the sport and world at large, which continue to this day as a co-founder to the Riders for Health charity. A GP staple, you can often find Mamola in the MotoGP paddock, rider-coaching for several racers, interacting with his legion of fans, and occasionally brow-beating unwieldy motorcycle journalists.
The list of MotoGP Legends is constantly growing with some of the best names ever to ride a motorcycle, and now one more can be added to the list: Kenny Roberts Jr.
The 500cc World Champion in 2000, Kenny Roberts Jr. broke the streak of premier class wins by Honda, with his Suzuki – the victory also making him part of the first father-son duo to win 500GP Championships.
We are creatures of habit in the paddock. After having had our biorhythms put out of whack by a wild and weird Thursday, having bikes on the track on Friday brought us all back into line, and restored a sense of normality to MotoGP.
This was a race weekend once again, and the arguments and backbiting have been put aside for a moment.
Though the return of racing motorcycles going fast around a circuit brought some joy back to the paddock, the day was also tinged with sadness. Two events punctuated the day, celebrating two mighty monuments of the paddock, who depart for pastures new.
At lunchtime, Nicky Hayden was inducted as a MotoGP Legend, with a ceremony and a brief press conference. In the evening, Bridgestone held an official soiree to take their leave of the paddock, as they ended their role of official tire supplier.
The Italian GP at Mugello kicked off with a special tribute, as Marco Simoncelli was posthumously inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame as a MotoGP Legend. A popular figure in the MotoGP paddock, Simoncelli tragically lost his life in 2011, during the second lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta officially inducted Marco as a MotoGP Legend at the Italian circuit, with Marco’s father Paolo Simoncelli present. Marco Simoncelli is the latest rider to receive grand prix motorcycle racing’s honor, since Casey Stoner was inducted to the Hall of Fame last year at Phillip Island. Only 21 grand prix riders have received this honor, with Kevin Schwantz, Kenny Roberts Sr., and Giacomo Agostini being among them.
The MotoGP Championship is in Sepang this week, for the first of its pre-season tests ahead of the 2014 season. Making an announcement at the site where Marco Simoncelli tragically lost his life during the Malaysian Grand Prix back in 2011, MotoGP has come up with a fitting way to tribute the popular Italian rider. Simoncelli will thus join Grand Prix racing’s hall of fame, and officially become a “MotoGP Legend” — the 21st rider to receive the sport’s high honor — with a ceremony that will be held at the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello. Marco Simoncelli’s introduction as a MotoGP Legend means he will join the ranks of Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, and other great riders from our sport.