Motorcycle World Championship History
Not many sponsors survive decade after decade in the world of motorsports. But one company has been around for 40 years in the Motorcycle World Championship – the Spanish energy group Repsol.
And Repsol has not been stagnate while competing in this championship, which includes everything from 125cc class to MotoGP. During its four decades in the Motorcycling World Championship, the longest-lived sponsor in the discipline, Repsol has won 25 titles from all categories.
And many of the world’s fastest riders have been a reckoning force on these Repsol machines. Just to name a few who took a title with Repsol: Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Angel Nieto, Jorge Martinez “Aspar,” Sito Pons, Alex Criville, Emilio Alzamora, Mick Doohan.
Following is a brief history of Repsol in the Motorcycling World Championship:
Everything started in 1971, when a young Ángel Nieto wore for the first time an ‘R’ on his Derbi’s fairing. It was a day just like today, but 40 years ago (May 9, 1971) when at the Austrian track of Salzburgring took place the first round of the season.
On that date Repsol’s unbeatable track record started to be forged. Ángel Nieto got on the podium twice on that race: to the second place in the 50cc category and to the highest step in 125cc. In the end, he would get his first title in the 125cc class and would be runner up in the smallest category. A successful start for Repsol, which thus began its sponsorship of motorcycling competitions.
Nevertheless, the first in wearing the Repesa logo -Repsol’s embryo- were the rallyes drivers Alberto Ruíz Giménez, Eladio Doncel and José Manuel Lencina, who in 1969 competed with cars of the Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands. That original design, that used Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso at the Valencia Grand Prix in 2008, is alive today in the Repsol Classic Team cars.
Since the debut of Ángel Nieto with the energy company, the Repsol riders have constantly been protagonists of the golden pages of the sport’s history. Jorge Martínez “Aspar” achieved the 1988 title of the 80 and 125cc classes. That same year, Sito Pons, with his Honda NSR 250, took the 250cc title wearing Campsa’s livery.
However, it was the premiere category that saw the true emergence of Repsol as an international sponsor. In 1995, the company linked its sponsoring strategy to the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) factory team and, together with Mick Doohan, Álex Crivillé and riders such as Tadayuki Okada or Takuma Aoki, dominated the second half of the decade.
The alliance of Repsol and Honda continued up to the present day always at the highest level: it produced nine Riders World Championships and the same amount of Constructors titles. Australian Mick Doohan was the champion the four years he wore the Repsol liver. Crivillé took over and in 1999 won the 500cc title, he was the first Spaniard to win the premier category.
That very same season, Emilio Alzamora, another Repsol rider, took the crown of the 125cc World Championship. Two years later, in 2001, the 500cc class saw Valentino Rossi take the title, again with Repsol’s support.
In 250cc, Daijiro Kato achieved the title and in the two following years Rossi kept dominating the highest class, this time with a 990cc. and at the same time of Dani Pedrosa’s debut, who won the 125cc class.
The rider from Castellar del Vallés (Barcelona), now in the MotoGP Repsol Honda Team, took another victory in 2005 in the intermediate class for the second year in a row. Since then he has shown that he is one of the most skilled riders of the World Championship.
In 2006, Nicky Hayden also took the Repsol colors to the highest place by achieving the MotoGP title.
The last arrival to this list of Champions was Marc Márquez, who last year broke many records set by all that star riders and took the 125cc championship. This season, the Repsol Honda Team consolidated as the most powerful team of the class with an impressive line-up: Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso, who already gathered two victories in the first three races held.
During these 42 years in competition and four decades in the Motorcycling World Championship, the Repsol name has been consolidated as one of the most prominent among the fans, no longer being a simple sponsor but a symbol of the highest level competition and a synonym of innovation, technology and excellency in fuels for the most demanding sports competitions.
Repsol Track Records in Motorcycling World Championship
- 1972 / Ángel Nieto (Derbi)
- 1988 / Jorge Martínez “Aspar” (Derbi)
- 1971/ Ángel Nieto (Derbi)
- 1972/ Ángel Nieto (Derbi)
- 1981 / Ángel Nieto (Minarelli)
- 1982 / Ángel Nieto (Garelli)
- 1983 / Ángel Nieto (Garelli)
- 1988 / Jorge Martínez “Aspar” (Derbi)
- 1989 / Álex Crivillé (JJ-Cobas)
- 1999 / Emilio Alzamora (Honda RS 125)
- 2003 / Dani Pedrosa (Honda RS 125)
- 2010 / Marc Márquez (Derbi RSA)
- 1988 /Sito Pons (Honda NSR 250)
- 1989 / Sito Pons (Honda NSR 250)
- 2001 / Daijiro Kato (Honda NSR 250)
- 2005 / Dani Pedrosa (Honda RSW 250)
- 1995 / Mick Doohan (Honda NSR 500)
- 1996 / Mick Doohan (Honda NSR 500)
- 1997 / Mick Doohan (Honda NSR 500)
- 1998 / Mick Doohan (Honda NSR 500)
- 1999 / Álex Crivillé (Honda NSR 500)
- 2001 / Valentino Rossi (Honda NSR 500)
- 2002 / Valentino Rossi (Honda RC211V)
- 2003 / Valentino Rossi (Honda RC211V)
- 2006 / Nicky Hayden (Honda RC211V)