9 years ago
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Stefan Bradl was confirmed as the 2011 Moto2 World Champion at the final round of the season in Valencia, making the 21 year-old the first German rider to take a World Championship since Dirk Raudies in the 125cc class in 1993.
His first title also made Bradl the youngest German rider ever to take a World Championship, following a 2011 season which delivered on the promise that had been displayed in flashes throughout his earlier career.
Gaining his first experience on the Grand Prix stage in the 125cc category in 2005, the son of former 250cc World Championship runner-up Helmut Bradl rode as a wildcard in three rounds before making his full-time debut in the 2006 season.
That maiden campaign was cut short by a nasty leg break at the end of the warm up session for the Malaysian GP when Bradl was hit by another bike, but he had shown enough during the season to be lined up by Honda for a factory 125cc ride in 2007. However, after testing for the team the youngster withdrew from the project citing personal reasons and instead rode in the Spanish National Championship, which he won. His form in the domestic competition prompted the Blusens Aprilia team to field him in the World Championship that same season as a wildcard, and he was then entered for the remainder of the campaign with the Spanish outfit.
With his career seemingly back on track Bradl linked up with the Kiefer Racing set-up for 2008 and had a revelatory year, winning two races, taking six podiums in total and ending the season fourth overall in the Championship.
Big things were expected for 2009 as Bradl continued with Kiefer in the 125cc class, but the title challenge that had been expected failed to materialise and he ended the year tenth in the standings.
With the introduction of the new Moto2 format in 2010 Bradl and the Kiefer team made the step up to the intermediate category, showing early-season promise before a strong end to the inaugural year of the 600cc four-stroke class which included a victory at Estoril.
An impressive pre-season in preparation for 2011 had many noting the German rider down as a serious title contender for the forthcoming campaign, and victory from pole position in the opening race of the year in Qatar confirmed his credentials. Bradl went on to start from pole for the first five races, the first time since 2003 that a rider had done so in the intermediate class, and four wins from the opening six rounds saw him build up a substantial Championship lead.
The coming into form of 2010 125cc Champion and Moto2 rookie Marc Márquez saw the title fight become a two-way affair as the Spaniard rapidly accumulated wins, but Bradl’s consistency and cool head ensured regular podiums and just one finish outside the top eight; a crash at Assen.
Heading into the final round of the year with a 23-point advantage over Márquez after the Spaniard missed the Malaysian GP through injury, Bradl was then confirmed World Champion with the withdrawal of his rival for the final round in Valencia, thus putting the seal on a maiden World Championship after an enthralling season-long fight for the crown.
9 years ago
9 years ago