CORTESE TAKES A TIGHT MOTO3 GP SECOND IN CATALUNYA
Red Bull KTM Ajo factory rider Sandro Cortese crossed the line in a tight second behind winner Maverick Vinales of Spain in the Moto3 Grand Prix at the Catalunya circuit after a fierce dogfight for the minor places between no less than eight riders.
Sandro Cortese, who leads the championship by seven points said after the race that it had not even been certain he would be able to compete after injuring his hand in a crash on Saturday on the traditional circuit. “This feels like a race win for me,” the German rider said. “I wasn’t even sure I would be able to start I was in so much pain. But in the last lap I saw there was a chance and I just tried everything to stay in front.”
The scrap between the following pack that evolved in the second half gave Vinales the chance to pull out to a substantial lead but this took nothing away from the excitement generated by the group behind. While Cortese was always in the running for one of the minor places on the KTM Moto3 bike, he had to work hard as the order changed at almost every corner.
With just three laps to go it was KTM rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin who briefly led the race after torpedoing his KTM machine from eighth place to the front. Hector Faubel was also well in the mix on the KALEX-KTM but in the final dash for the line the two finally finished with Faubel taking seventh and Khairuddin in eighth. There was less than a second between Cortese and Khairuddin in eighth when they crossed the line, again underlining that the new Moto3 class competition is proving to be one of the most exciting on the program.
The Malaysia rider Khairuddin had a strong race despite being back at eighth at the flag. He started on the front row of the grid for the first time in his career. Despite a chaotic start where French rider Louis Rossi assumed the lead, it was Khairuddin and Vinales who then took control to lead the pack. Then Khairuddin went wide and slipped right back to eleventh place while Cortese took charge of leading the group behind. Then as the race unfolded, it became obvious that there was not predicting the final top three until they crossed the line.
The track, which was soaked with rain during the MotoGP warm-up dried out to give the Moto3 riders a dry track in contrast to the rain soaked last race in Le Mans, France. Eight of nine riders on KTM-driven bikes finished the race. South African Brad Binder was the sole exception. He was the first to crash out after making contact with the back of Jack Miller. Reports are that he has cracked a rib in the process but is expected to make a speedy recovery.
Results Moto3 Catalunya
1. Maverick Vinales (E), FTR Honda, 41:50.965 min
2. Sandro Cortese (D), KTM, +7.752 sec
3. Miguel Oliviera (P), Suter Honda , +7. 853
4. Luis Rossi (F), FTR Honda, +8.007
5. Alexis Masbou (F), Honda, +8.075
7. Hector Faubel (E), KALEX-KTM, +8.355
8. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MA), KTM, +8.480
10. Luis Salom (E), KALEX-KTM, +16.023
14. Alberto Moncayo (E), KALEX-KTM, +30.132
20. Danny Kent (UK), KTM, +43.738
21. Niklas Ajo (FIN), KTM, +43.765
22. Arthur Sissis (AUS), KTM, +44.119
DNF Brad Binder (RSA), KALEX-KTM (crashed in later part of the race, reported to have a broken rib)
Standings Moto3 after 5 of 17 rounds
1. Cortese, 87 points
2. Vinales, 80
3. Salom, 55
4. Romano Fenati (I), FTR Honda, 52
5. Rossi, 45
7. Khairuddin, 37
8. Moncayo, 35
12. Faubel, 24
13. Sissis, 23
15. Kent 16
24. Binder 5
26. Ajo, 4