Ralf Waldmann, a hero of the 250cc class from 1994-2000, has died at the age of 51.

The German, who won six races in the 125cc class before his 14 victories during a talent-packed era for 250GP, had been working as an expert MotoGP commentator for Eurosport.

The cause of his death remains unknown.

'Waldi' was title runner-up in both the 1996 and 1997 250cc World Championships, losing out to Max Biaggi by just six and two points respectively.

Such performances earned him a ride with Marlboro Team Roberts in the 500cc class in 1998, but after a best finish of seventh on the Modenas KR3 Waldmann returned to the quarter-litre category, where he raced for two more seasons.

Waldmann's final victory, in the 2000 British Grand Prix, was especially spectacular. The changing weather helped the German mount a stunning comeback from 21st place to snatch victory on the exit from the final corner, having begun the final lap 12-seconds behind Olivier Jacque!

Waldmann later planned to return from semi-retirement by signing for the Harris WCM MotoGP team, but quit the project before the start of the 2003 season.

After an absence of six-years, Waldmann dusted off his leathers for a last grand prix appearance - at the age of 43 - as an injury replacement at Kiefer Racing for the 2009 British 250cc Grand Prix.

Waldmann's death comes just ten days after Luigi Taveri, a triple 125cc world champion in the 1960s, and less than six months after the passing of Stefan Kiefer.

Crash.net sends its deepest condolences to Waldmann's family and friends.

Harada, Waldmann, Jacque and Biaggi battle to the finish of the 1997 German 250cc GP (pic: Gold&Goose).

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