Results and summary of a tense and thrilling Moto3 race at Sepang:
Sandro Cortese has sealed the inaugural Moto3 championship inthe best possible way by winning a close battle with his teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Aspar's Jonas Folger. A 3rd place would have been good enough, but Cortese saw an opportunity on the final lap and seized it.
Cortese had ridden a calm, controlled race up to that point, getting away with the leading group headed by Jonas Folger, the group whittled down to four men after the first couple of laps. Folger was comfortably in charge of the race, while Khairuddin sat behind him, and Cortese sat with Luis Salom at the back of the group. Salom was the only man who could deny Cortese the title, and Cortese knew he only had to finish immediately behind him to be champion, wary of Salom's moves.
Salom would not accept defeat easily, and was pushing hard to challenge Khairuddin in 2nd for a go at leader Folger. But he had had to push his way forward from 10th on the grid and then catch the leading group, and had asked a lot of his tires. Salom was having trouble contending with Cortese, and shortly after the halfway mark, a couple of big moments with the front wheel saw Salom lose valuable time, and then lose touch with the leaders, dropping back into the clutches of Alex Rins and Miguel Oliveira a second or so behind. The direct threat to the championship was gone, and Cortese had only to finish and the title was his.
The loss of Salom meant that the race was now solely about victory. Zulfahmi Khairuddin had started to press Jonas Folger, and as the first few drops of what would turn into a deluge after the race started to spot the track, Khairuddin decided it was time to act. The Malaysian rider took the lead into the final corner on lap 11, crossing the line to the wild cheers of the local crowds. Folger put up a stern fight for the next few laps, but had to eventually give in to the Malaysian, as he came under pressure from Cortese, having to give up 2nd to the German on lap 14.
With Khairuddin leading, the race looked on course to see the first ever Malaysian winner of a Grand Prix race in history, but Cortese was in slightly better shape than his Ajo teammate. Cortese bided his time, attacking on the last lap and pressuring Khairuddin towards the final section of the track. Khairuddin tried to make a stand, but ran just a little bit wide into Turn 14, and Cortese was through to the lead. Khairuddin drafted back into the lead down the back straight, but Cortese held the inside line for the final corner, and snatched victory from Khairuddin as they crossed the line. Khairuddin tried, but could do nothing, and was forced to settle for 2nd, with Folger taking the final spot on the podium.
Sandro Cortese now heads to Australia as Moto3 world champion, and can race a little more freely for the last two races of the season. He took the championship exactly as he had hoped he could, and as championships deserve to be secured: with a race win.
|3||94||Jonas FOLGER||KALEX KTM||40'54.370||0.247|
|4||39||Luis SALOM||KALEX KTM||41'02.626||8.503|
|5||44||Miguel OLIVEIRA||SUTER HONDA||41'02.797||8.674|
|7||42||Alex RINS||SUTER HONDA||41'13.096||18.973|
|8||7||Efren VAZQUEZ||FTR HONDA||41'19.542||25.419|
|10||26||Adrian MARTIN||FTR HONDA||41'24.886||30.763|
|12||41||Brad BINDER||KALEX KTM||41'25.142||31.019|
|14||12||Alex MARQUEZ||SUTER HONDA||41'25.436||31.313|
|15||27||Niccolò ANTONELLI||FTR HONDA||41'25.772||31.649|
|16||84||Jakub KORNFEIL||FTR HONDA||41'25.838||31.715|
|17||19||Alessandro TONUCCI||FTR HONDA||41'25.913||31.790|
|18||23||Alberto MONCAYO||FTR HONDA||41'26.270||32.147|
|19||32||Isaac VIÑALES||FTR HONDA||41'33.487||39.364|
|20||5||Romano FENATI||FTR HONDA||41'39.947||45.824|
|21||89||Alan TECHER||TSR HONDA||41'40.745||46.622|
|24||29||Luca AMATO||KALEX KTM||42'03.209||1'09.086|
|25||28||Josep RODRIGUEZ||FGR HONDA||42'09.857||1'15.734|
|26||30||Giulian PEDONE||SUTER HONDA||42'27.840||1'33.717|
|27||51||Kenta FUJII||TSR HONDA||42'27.934||1'33.811|
|99||Danny WEBB||MAHINDRA||19'36.752||10 laps|
|96||Louis ROSSI||FTR HONDA||11'24.542||13 laps|
|20||Riccardo MORETTI||MAHINDRA||2'30.073||17 laps|