Posthumously recognized as a MotoGP Legend, Luigi Taveri was the first Swiss World Champion in MotoGP history. He is the 35th racer regarded as a legend and the second Swiss driver, after Stefan Dorflinger, to acquire this honor. Following the Styrian grand prix in Austria in August 2022, he was formally recognized as a MotoGP Legend.
Taveri made his Grand Prix début in the 1954 season, participating in 250cc and 500cc races. He was born in 1929, not far from Zürich. After continuing in the 250cc division the following year, he transitioned smoothly to the 125cc division. In the opening race of the Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuic, he achieved his maiden victory, and he and MV Agusta placed second overall. Still affiliated with MV Agusta, Luigi Taveri improved upon his second-place showing in the 250 class the following year. He would again place second overall in the 125 class in 1957.
Taveri moved to Honda in 1961 and saw considerable success. In the 125 class, he finished 1962 with a total of six victories, including his maiden World Championship crown. He repeated his victory in the World Championship in 1964 and 1966. Taveri participated in almost all of the classes at the time and had success in the 50, 125, 250, 350, and 500 categories. Additionally, he has no fewer than 30 podium finishes and is one of the few racers to have earned points in each of the five categories. After winning the World Championship in 1966, Taveri hung up his leathers and retired, leaving a mark on the future generations of the sport.
On March 1, 2018, following complications related to a stroke, Luigi Taveri passed away in the presence of his family and loved ones. He was 88 years old. Now, some four years after his passing, his legacy is strengthened even further, as he joins the likes of Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi, and Max Biaggi in the MotoGP hall of fame.
Following his induction as a MotoGP Legend, Taveri’s family expressed their gratitude in an official press statement by MotoGP: “Our family is overwhelmed and very happy to hear that Luigi receives this big honor. It would be so nice if he could be with us and celebrate this moment with all of you. Those who remember Luigi know that he would be standing here with a big smile on his face and searching for words. We thank Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta in Luigi’s name from the bottom of our hearts.”