Dunlop, single tire supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, issued the following press release, tracing the story of Sandro Cortese's route to becoming the inaugural Moto3 World Champion:
Sandro Cortese: First Ever Moto3 World Champion!
History Made with Dunlop Champ
Sandro Cortese made history by becoming the first ever Moto3 World Champion in Sunday’s Malaysian round at Sepang. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider needed only a podium finish to secure his first grand prix crown with two rounds remaining, but in keeping with the exciting all-Dunlop class, Cortese instead pushed flat-out for victory. The 22-year-old German spent the closing stages locked in a thrilling battle with Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jonas Folger - Cortese passing home star Khairuddin at the very final turn and winning by just 0.028s.
“I can't believe I have taken the title with a victory!” grinned Cortese, proudly wearing his yellow ‘Dunlop World Champion’ cap.
Moto3: Cortese’s Time To Shine
One of Moto3’s main goals was to allow up-and-coming riders the chance to showcase their talent - and with seven different winners from 15 events, few can argue that it has not been a success.
Cortese’s first title victory was achieved through consistency rather than domination, with the KTM star the only rider to score points in every race so far and finishing off the podium just twice in 15 rounds. Cortese had won just two races during seven seasons of 125cc competition, but was a contender from the start of Moto3, claiming pole for the inaugural race in Qatar and leading the Championship after his first victory in round three at Estoril. But Cortese was just one of four different winners from the opening four rounds, with FTR-Honda rider Maverick Vinales then regaining the title initiative with successive victories at Catalunya, Silverstone and Assen. Cortese responded with a home victory at the Sachsenring, round eight, and was never headed in the Championship thereafter, adding a further win at Misano prior to his decisive Sepang performance. As well as Cortese (4) and Vinales (5), the other Moto3 race winners to date are: Luis Salom (2), Romano Fenati (1), Louis Rossi (1), Jonas Folger (1) and Danny Kent (1).
Moto3 and Dunlop
Moto3, featuring 250cc four-stroke motorcycles, replaced the technically outdated (but much loved) two-stroke 125cc World Championship, which was formed in 1949 and long dominated by Dunlop. Having been selected as the exclusive Moto3 tyre supplier, Dunlop was able to provide a crucial link between the past and future of the smallest grand prix class during its transition.
Dunlop created three slick tyre compounds for Moto3 - a Hard, Medium and Soft - with a shortlist of two front and two rear compounds made available to every rider at each event. A total of 17 slick tyres (8 front and 9 rear) are provided for the six track sessions held, with a separate allocation of wet tyres. The three slick compounds not only have to cope with season-long contrasts in circuit characteristics and climatic conditions, but also a vast range of machinery.
As had been hoped, the new Moto3 class has caught the eye of both mainstream manufacturers and dedicated race-specialists. Five different types of motorcycle have already celebrated a podium finish, and no less than eleven have scored World Championship points. But perhaps the biggest winners have been the fans, who have seen 10 out of the 15 races so far won by less than one-second!
Dunlop’s MotoGP Operations Manager, Clinton Howe:
"Sandro Cortese has matured in 2012 to be a master of the new Moto3 machinery. His ability to adapt to this machine from the old 125cc bikes has been the quickest, hence his championship win. He is one of the coolest customers / riders in the pit box and his intelligence with the help of his team has been second to none. Every race event he has always put plenty of laps on tyres and in general tested each tyre option to understand the pros and cons of each. He has understood what is meant by being consistent and his record of finishes this year has been exceptional. When he could not win a race, he made sure he got high scoring points. He really does deserve this championship, and I take my hat off to him.”
Dunlop Motorcycle Director EMEA, Sharon Antonaros:
"First of all congratulations to Sandro Cortese and the Redbull KTM team for the first ever Moto3 World Champion title. Moto3 has been a new challenge for us, a new class with new bikes. We applied our 125cc experience from a technical perspective and our Moto2 experience from an operational perspective as just two years before we already faced the challenge of an all new class. This has proven to be a success and I'd like to thank the complete Dunlop staff in the development centre, the factory and of course on the circuits for the great work."