The Aspar team will be renamed in 2018 in honour of the late 13-times world champion Angel Nieto, with his son Gelete taking over the role of team principal.
Nieto was involved in a road traffic accident in Spain in late July and tragically succumbed to his injuries on August 8 at the age of 70.
The Spaniard became a hero of his country in his time in grand prix racing from 1964 to 1986, in which time he tallied up an incredible 13 world titles – Nieto referring to this as 12+1 due to his superstitions – in the 50cc and 125cc classes.
In tribute to Nieto, Jorge Martinez ‘Aspar‘ will rename his teams in grand prix racing and the Spanish championship after him for the 2018 season.
“Angel Nieto is synonymous with motorcycle racing, a sport that gave him so much and to which he gave so much in return,” Martinez said.
“Motorcycle racing is what it is in Spain thanks to the man who laid the first stone and we want to pay homage to that fact by renaming our team the Angel Nieto Team.”
Nieto‘s eldest son and the team’s new principal Gelete raced with Aspar from 1993 to 1997, contesting 28 grands prix in that time and finding success in the European and Spanish championships.
“I took my first steps in racing with Jorge Martinez ‘Aspar‘, he guided me to the top step of the podium in the European and Spanish championships,” Nieto stated.
“He has always been an important person to our family and alongside him I am now about to start a new chapter of my professional life in a team that will carry the name of my father.
“2016 was his 50th season in the world championship and I am sure he would have loved to be around for a few more.
“Motorcycles were his way of life and through this team we will make sure he remains in touch with his great passion.”
Gelete‘s brother Pablo Nieto – who is now team manager for the VR46 team in Moto2 and Moto3 – won the 2003 125cc Portuguese Grand Prix with Aspar, while cousin Fonsi finished second in the 250cc class for the team in 2002.
The Nieto team will field an unchanged line-up of Alvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham on Ducati machinery in 2018 in the premier class, while Andrea Migno and Albert Arenas will line up on KTMs in the squad’s colours in Moto3.