Italian Andrea Dovizioso raced to his first 125cc World Championship title at the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on Sunday, with two rounds of the championship left to be run.
Dovizioso shadowed race winner Casey Stoner throughout the 19-lap race to claim his first world crown. At 18 years, nine months and 17-days Dovizioso is the third youngest 125cc rider ever to take the title.
"This is a very emotional moment for me," said Dovizioso at the end of the race. "Basically I'm very confused even though we had such a big points lead going into the race and half expected to win the championship today (Sunday). There is no way to describe how I feel I will need some time before I dare think about what it means. We will have a big party tonight and when I wake up in the morning maybe I will realise what I have done."
"I have so many people to thank forgive me if I forget someone," continued Dovizioso. "My family for all their support, my team who have been fantastic and made it possible, Honda who gave me such a great machine and support, my sponsors, oh so many people. I really cannot explain it all, I'm very happy."
When asked about his ambitions and the planned racing strategy for the season Dovizioso said: "To be quite honest I was thinking about winning the championship from the first day, just like all the best riders. I expected the season would be very hard and it was.
“We believed Roberto Locatelli would be the fastest of our rivals and the hardest rider to beat over the 16 races but I didn't expect him to be as fast as he was at the beginning of the season. Barbera and Lorenzo were sure to be fast on some race-tracks, but 'Loca' was the danger, and that's the way the season developed.”
"My team have worked hard for me and we have always been ready to race for the win. The new Honda was good from the start and we have been confident all season but we have been the most consistently fast team his season. This championship is for all of us in the team," concluded the new champion.
The quiet unassuming Dovizioso hails from Forli in Northern Italy and rode his first mini motocross bike at just four years of age. Under the careful eye of his father Antonio, a regular competitor in the Italian MX Championship, Andrea quickly developed his riding skills racing both mini-moto and mini-motocross. If the two categories clashed on a particular weekend Andrea chose to race his mini-moto machine.
Fast and consistent on both dirt and tarmac he was already displaying the smooth efficient riding style that was to become his hallmark and serve him well in later years. He was to win two mini-moto national championships and take third place in national mini-motocross at nine years old.