Brno (Czech Republic), Aug 6 (IANS) Before proceedings at the Czech Republic Grand Prix could get underway on Sunday, giants of the motorcycling world paused for a minute’s silence to remember one of the all-time greats, Ángel Nieto, who recently died from injuries sustained in a traffic accident.
A 13-time Grand Prix world champion in two categories, Nieto was seriously injured on July 26 when his quad bike collided with a car on the Spanish island of Ibiza and died in hospital from his injuries at the age of 70 on Thursday, reports Efe.
Before the Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP racers prepared to take to the track in Brno, Czech Republic, competitors and organisers stood in silence in front of a banner emblazoned with the words “Gracias Maestro,” (“Thank you, teacher/master”) — paying homage to a man widely considered to be one of the greatest motorcycling racers of all time.
Former racer and a close friend of Nieto, Jorge Martínez Salvadores, nicknamed “Aspar”, led the ceremony, joined by the head of the company that organises the MotoGP World Championships, Carmelo Ezpeleta, and Federation of International Motorcycling president Vito Ippolito.
The crowd also brought together some of the modern legends of the sport: Valentino Rossi, Marc Márquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Nieto won 13 Grand Prix World Championships between 1969-84: eight in the 50cc category and five with 125cc engine capacity.
However, being extremely superstitious and a notorious triskaidekaphobe, he always referred to his championship tally as 12+1 and used those numbers in his autographs.