Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese underlined his role as ‘Mr. Consistency’ on the Mugello circuit on Sunday finishing third in the Moto3 GP of Italy to take his eighth podium in nine rounds. The German rider retains the championship lead on the KTM Moto3 factory bike ahead of today’s winner Maverick Vinales of Spain.
Cortese, Vinales and young Italian rider Romano Fenati made the final laps a nail biting affair on the racing circuit much favored by riders and fans alike when they pulled away from the following pack in the final laps and fought out a battle of attrition right to the flag.
The race started with a flash of brilliance from KTM’s Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin who shot into the lead and managed to hold onto it for the opening laps before relinquishing it to the more aggressive riders. Cortese and his teammate Danny Kent of Britain also sent an early signal about their intentions and were well in the mix in the opening laps. Kent managed to survive a close encounter with Italian rider Antonelli and stayed well in the race while the third member of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, Arthur Sissis had to retire with technical problems after twice setting fastest lap mid race from about place 10-11.
Tactics and especially slipstream manoevers have evolved as crucial for this new class of racing and Cortese has proved himself to be up with the best. The race could have gone any way in the final shakeout but the young Italian rider Fenati was particularly hungry in front of his home crowd and managed to prevail over the KTM rider as the front three rushed the finish line. Just seven hundredths of a second separated first and third place. Cortese still leads the championship but he remains most threatened by today’s winner, the Spanish rider Vinales.
Unlucky was Luis Salom on the Kalex-KTM who went into the race already bruised and battered from a crash in free practice. He went down in the race after a touch with Alberto Moncayo of Spain, also riding the Kalex-KTM. Khairuddin, Hector Faubel and Niklas Ajo finished 9 through 11 for other solid results by riders on KTM-driven bikes.
MotoGP of Italy – Mugello Circuit – Round 9
1, Maverick Viñales, Spain, FTR Honda, +39:57.374
2, Romano Fenati, Italy, FTR Honda, +0.020
3, Sandro Cortese, Germany, KTM, +0.071
4, Niccolò Antonelli, Italy, FTR Honda, +5.788
5, Danny Kent, GBR, KTM, +5.836
6, Efren Vazquez, Spain, FTR Honda, +5.860
7, Alex Rins, Spain, Suter Honda, +5.906
8, Jakub Kornfeil, Czech Republic, FTR Honda, +18.195
9, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Malaysia, KTM, +19.232
10, Hector Faubel, Spain, Kalex KTM, +19.308
11, Niklas Ajo, Finland, KTM
24, Brad Binder, RSA, Kalex KTM
DNF, Arthur Sissis, Australia, KTM
DNF, Alberto Moncayo, Kalex KTM
DNF, Luis Salom, Spain, Kalex KTM
Moto3 Standings after Round 9
1, Cortese, 164
2, M. Viñales, 155
3, Salom, 104
4, Fenati, 85
5, Masbou, 75
6, Khairuddin, 66
10, Kent, 53
12, Faubel, 44
14, Sissis, 38
15, Moncayo, 36
18, Ajo, 21
28, Binder, 5
Manufacturers Standings after Round 9
1, FTR Honda, 206
2, KTM, 165
3, Kalex KTM, 133