Jorge Lorenzo fittingly clinched his maiden Moto GP world title with a third-place finish in Malaysia yesterday, another consistent drive in a rock-solid season.
The Spaniard sealed the championship with three races left in a campaign that has brought him seven victories and at least a top-four finish in each of the 15 races.
"It's an incredible feeling but one that is difficult to comprehend really," the 23-year-old Yamaha rider said. "When you imagine what it would be like to be world champion it never quite matches the feeling of actually achieving it.
Lorenzo said he felt a lucky man. "In my racing career I haven't really suffered much bad luck, always had good things happen," he said. "I've had good bikes and good people to give the best chance of winning. It is something I really appreciate."
Lorenzo's consistency and injuries to his main rivals meant he only needed a top-10 finish here and, after qualifying on pole, he was content to allow his team-mate, Valentino Rossi, to battle with Honda's Andrea Dovizioso for the race win.
Rossi, who has had an injury ravaged season including breaking a leg at round four, emerged from the dogfight with his first victory since the opening round of the season in Qatar, a race Lorenzo said was a defining moment in his triumphant campaign.
"I didn't really get off to a great start this season, it was very tough in the beginning. I had a nasty injury [badly broken thumb] to my hand from a training accident in February," he said. "At that moment, I thought it was going to be a more difficult season than the last [when he was runner-up to Rossi] but we got that second-place finish in Qatar and it gave me confidence.
"When I won in Jerez [Spain] in the next race, for me my most important victory, it started off a great run. From there I had seven wins and have only had two races without a podium finish. I couldn't ask for more."
Lorenzo's season really took off after Jerez and the team worked hard to ensure the talented rider had the tools to complete the job. "We were not the best bike at the beginning of the season, sort of sleeping in a way. Then we woke up and the others were sleeping. Now we have a world title and I hope we can win many more.
"I started my career eight years ago and now I am sitting here as world champion. Things seem to have moved really fast."
Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis was full of praise for Lorenzo. "This journey started in 2005 when we first started looking at him, he signed a contract a year later and was test riding by 2007," Jarvis said.
"It's not easy to become world champion and he has done a great job. We are very happy that we could reach the goal. We are very optimistic that with Jorge showing what he can do that we will have a great team for the future too."