Sandro Cortese of Germany and the Red Bull KTM Ajo Factory Racing Team won the first ever Moto3 World Championship title on Sunday at the Malaysian Grand Prix to write another chapter in KTM’s successful history of always being Ready to Race.
Cortese slipped past KTM teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin in the final stages of the last lap to take the race and the title, even though he only needed a podium finish to settle the championship. Jonas Folger of Germany on the Kalex-KTM was third. There are still two races in hand.
Cortese: “I can’t believe I have taken the title and with victory. I just waited and I wanted to finish in front of Salom and to show everyone that even if Vinales has gone home I could still take the title with a win.” Salom was the only other rider in with a chance for the title. Honda rider Maverick Vinales was Cortese’s closest rival for the title but returned home to Spain without riding in Malaysia this weekend after a dispute with his team.
The race was a great milestone for KTM as CEO Stefan Pierer said after the race. “An unbelievable and wonderful day for KTM and all KTM Racing Fans. With Sandro becoming the first rider to win a World Championship on asphalt (for KTM) is an unforgettable milestone in the history of the company. Today’s performance by Zulfami and Jonas crowns our entire Moto3 activity and it is a perfect demonstration of our engagement. I want to thanks all those involved in our Moto3 project and I congratulate Sandro, Aki (Aki Ajo, factory team manager) and the entire Red Bull Team – today you have written KTM and motorsport history!”
The Malaysian race was also a definite milestone in road racing for the Malaysian public who came to the Sepang circuit in record numbers to see their best national rider ever perform on the home track. Local hero Khairuddin did not disappoint, powering his KTM Moto3 machine to his first career pole and delivering a stunning performance in the race, only conceding victory to his friend and teammate in the final stages. Folger too was a strong contender and the three riders were locked in battle at the front of the pack for the second half of the race.
Rain threatened throughout and riders had the daunting task of racing in temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius, but despite looming black storm clouds, the tropical cloudburst rained only spots on the riders during the race before unleashing itself on the crowd during the podium ceremony.
Cortese’s victory is all the more creditable because of he has been so consistent throughout the season. He has been on the podium in all but two races and in both of those he finished sixth.
Sandro Cortese’s road to first ever Moto3 World title
2012 GP of Qatar finished 3
2012 GP of Spain finished 3
2012 GP of Portugal finished 1
2012 GP of France finished 6
2012 GP of Catalunya finished 2
2012 GP of Britain finished 3
2012 GP of Netherlands finished 2
2012 GP of Germany finished 1
2012 GP of Italy finished 3
2012 GP of Indianapolis finished 2
2012 GP of Czech Republic finished 3
2012 GP of San Marino finished 1
2012 GP of Aragon finished 2
2012 GP of Japan finished 6
2012 GP of Malaysia finished 1
Results Moto3 GP Malaysia
1, Sandro Cortese, Germany KTM, 40:54.123 (Wins World championship title)
2, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Malaysia, KTM 40.54.151
3, Jonas Folger, Germany Kalex-KTM, 40.54.370
4, Luis Salom, Spain, Kalex-KTM, 41.02.626
5, Miguel Oliviera, Spain, Honda, 41.02.797
6, Danny Kent, Britain, KTM, 41.03.458
9, Niklas Ajo, Finland, KTM, 41.24.837
11, Arthur Sissis, Australia, KTM, 41.25.009
12, Brad Binder, South Africa, Kalex-KTM, 41.25.142
24, Luca Amato, Italy, Kalex-KTM 42.03.209
World Championship Standings
1, Cortese 280 points (First ever Moto3 World Champion)
2, Salom, 207
3, Maverick Vinales, Spain, Honda, 199
4, Alex Rins, Spain, 128
5, Romano Fenati, Italy, 126
6, Kent, 118
7, Khairuddin, 112
9, Folger, 88
14, Sissis, 68
19, Ajo, 33
26, Binder, 9