The Spanish city of Madrid hosted a celebration of the life of 12+1 World Champion, Angel Nieto. Nieto would always refer to his 13 world championship titles as 12+1 due to the superstition of 13 being an unlucky number.  Out of respect, fans around the world would do the same. 

The celebration, which began as an intimate ceremony of friends and family, morphed into a day of remembrance which saw an estimated 50,000 enthusiasts flock to the Spanish capital. In attendance were current MotoGP stars as well as former racing legends such as Giacomo Agostini, Sete Gibernau, and Loris Capirossi.

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With the ceremony beginning at the beautiful Parque del Retiro in the heart of Madrid, those in attendance later made their way to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium where family, friends, and fellow racers addressed the crowd. Motorcycles lined the streets with some riders doing burnouts and filling the air with the scent of burnt rubber and gasoline. A sight that would, no doubt, make the Spanish champion smile as he spent most of his life as a resident of Madrid.

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The convoy of motorcyclists later made its way to the Jarama Circuit for a very special parade lap around the track led by Angel’s sons, Pablo and Gelete riding two of their father’s motorcycles. The group stopped at Angel Nieto corner to pay tribute and lay flowers before continuing on to finish their lap.

Riders from the current MotoGP line-up took to social media to share their experience with their followers:

Espargaró brothers, Pol and Aleix pay tribute to the Spanish champion at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Angel Nieto was struck by a car while riding an ATV near his home in Ibiza, Spain. The former champion suffered major brain damage and was induced into a coma by doctors in Ibiza. While the medical staff made plans to bring Nieto out of the coma, his condition worsened eventually causing the Spanish legend to succumb to his injuries August 3, 2017. Angel Nieto was 70 years old and is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish riders of all time. Angel Nieto will live on in the hearts of racing enthusiasts around the world as the Spanish 12+1 World Champion.

Angel Nieto

Godspeed, champ.