Four-time World Champions Stefan Dörflinger and Jorge “Aspar” Martinez will become MotoGP™ Legends this season, with the Swiss rider set to be inducted into the MotoGP™ Legends Hall of Fame at the Sachsenring and the Spaniard at Valencia. This announcement comes on the 40th anniversary of “Aspar”‘s first ever race – a fitting occasion.
German-born Stefan Dörflinger won back-to-back 50cc titles in 1982 and 1983 before the introduction of the 80cc category in 1984 saw the Swiss rider take that crown and become the first ever Champion in the class. He followed that up by defending the Championship in 1985, taking the fourth of the four titles he would accrue over his career. That career began on the international stage in 1973 and spanned until 1990 when Dörflinger hung up his leathers, taking the 80cc runner up spot in his penultimate season of competition. He retired with 18 Grand Prix wins to his name.
“I was overwhelmed when I heard the news I was to become a MotoGP Legend,” says Dörflinger. “I was very pleased, and very proud to join a group of such illustrious names.
“When I was racing, my favourite number was the number one. In our time, it was customary to have this number as a World Champion and I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity four times. To now become a Legend, as I said, is overwhelming, and I’m very proud to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Jorge “Aspar” Martinez began racing on the world stage in 1982 in the 50cc class. He won his first Championship in 1986 in the 80cc category and defended the crown in style as he dominated 1987 with seven wins. The following season he took the 80cc World Championship once again and paired it with a season in the 125 World Championship where he also took the crown, winning a stunning nine of 11 races. He raced until 1997 and competed in the 50cc, 80cc, 125cc and 250cc categories over his career, accruing a total of 37 Grand Prix victories.
“It’s a great feeling of happiness,” begins ‘Aspar’. “It was a big surprise when Carmelo Ezpeleta called me to tell me I was to be named a MotoGP Legend. The news was emotional because it puts me into a group of great riders. In addition, it’s the 40th anniversary of my first race so it’s a lot of good news and great memories all at once.
“The riders who are named MotoGP Legends are the best in the history of motorcycling and it’s incredible to become part of a group of almost mythical riders with such impressive awards like Angel Nieto, Mick Doohan, Giacomo Agostini, Nicky Hayden and so many others. It’s a feeling of real satisfaction.
“Stefan Dörflinger is older than me and when I arrived into the World Championship he was already a Champion. He was one of the rivals to beat, one of my objectives, but I have great memories of my relationship with him. He was very smooth, fast and elegant – a classy rider.
Dörflinger and Martinez 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 and the late, great Nicky Hayden.
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