Former 250cc World Champion Jarno Saarinen was today inducted into the prestigious MotoGP Hall of Fame, on the eve of the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring circuit.
The Finnish rider was selected for the honour due to his on-track achievements and influential style, the forerunner to the exciting cornering techniques prevalent in the current MotoGP World Championship. Despite only being an active full time Grand Prix competitor for three years, Saarinen had a hugely impressive résumé to show for his brief career. He achieved a total of fifteen wins and thirty-two podiums during his time in the 50cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc classes, including a victory on his 500cc debut.
The new MotoGP Legend’s crowning glory came in 1972, when he took the 250cc World Championship for Yamaha. In the same season he also finished runner-up to Giacomo Agostini in the 350cc series.
Saarinen’s life ended tragically at the May 20th, 1973 race held at Monza. He was part of a multiple-rider crash whilst in second place, one that took the lives of both he and Renzo Pasolini. He remains the only Finnish rider to have won a World Championship in any class.
The presentation was made to Saarinen’s brothers Jari and Jarkko and widow Soili Karme.
Jarno Saarinen MotoGP Legend
Birth date: 11/12/1945
First Grand Prix: 1968 125cc Finnish Grand Prix
First Grand Prix victory: 1971 350cc Czechoslovakian Grand Prix
Grand Prix victories: 15
World Championships: 1 (1972 250cc World Title)
Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland – Saturday – July 18, 2009 – MotoGP Legends