Stefan Bradl was crowned 2011 Moto2 World Champion at Valencia on Saturday, following the withdrawal from the race of his only remaining title rival, Marc Marquez, who was injured at the Malaysian GP two weeks ago.
Marquez finally decided hat he was not fit to compete in the season-ending race because he has been suffering from double vision since his accident at Sepang. He was already trailing Bradl by 23 points.
Twenty-one-year-old Bradl is Germany's first grand prix motorcycling World Champion since Dirk Raudies won the 125 World Championship in 1993. Germany's last intermediate-class World Champion was Toni Mang, who won the 1987 250 World Championship aboard a Honda NSR250.
The youngster goes one better than his father Helmut, who took the runner-up spot in the 1990 250 World Championship, riding a Honda NSR250.
Bradl's way of securing the title has been highly unusual, with low-key celebrations commencing after Marquez made his announcement preceding Saturday morning's third free practice session.
“It's a bit strange,” said the Viessmann Kiefer Racing (Kalex) rider. “Usually you win a championship when you cross the finish line at the end of a race, so this is a bit different. But this way is also okay! Germany needs a motorcycling World Champion - it's been 18 years since a German won a title, so I'm happy to be that guy.
“During qualifying today I tried to concentrate on myself. I wanted pole and I want to win the race tomorrow – now I feel so free on the bike, I'm just enjoying my racing. I'll try to win tomorrow and then we'll celebrate the best we can.
"Everyone knows that Formula 1 is very popular in Germany, because we have some big talents like Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher, but I know that all these guys follow MotoGP and they are really excited about this. I think there will be some big parties and celebrations in Germany tonight!
“I'm just very, very happy and I want to say thank you to everyone: to my team, my sponsors and my father. It is 20 years since my father finished second in the 250 World Championship and now in my opinion he is also a World Champion. He has been the biggest part of my life, he has supported me from the start and my whole family have been behind me.”