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Kuala Lumpur
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cortese crowned Moto3™ World Champion with win in Sepang, Zulfahmi Khairuddin 2nd

At this weekend’s race at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese won the inaugural Moto3™ world title after an enthralling win ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jonas Folger.

The race got underway in scorching hot conditions with AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin taking the holeshot into the tricky turn one, with Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger taking the led however within a few bends. JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez was mixing it up in third from the start, with Cortese fighting him for the podium spot.

Mahindra Racing’s Ricardo Moretti crashed out of the race a few laps in, yet fortunately walked away from the incident unhurt. Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi had made his way into fourth with 16 laps left, as he attacked Cortese for third. Behind him, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom had fought his way up to fifth, as a leading group of five started to pull away at the front with 13 laps remaining.

On the same lap there was drama for Frenchman Rossi, as he crashed out of contention, fortunately avoiding any of the other riders and escaping unscathed. This gave Estrella Galicia 0,0 duo Miguel Oliveira and Alex Rins, as well as Red Bull’s Danny Kent a chance to close in on the group. Ten laps from the end and Salom made his way past Cortese on the home straight, as the Spaniard looked to keep the title race alive.

A lap later and Mahindra’s Danny Kent had his race ended prematurely with mechanical problems, whilst Cortese got back past Salom, who had a wobble on track. With eight laps remaining another twist was added as a few rain flags came out in a few corners on the track. And this prompted Khairuddin to make his move on Folger to take the lead, much to the delight of the local crowd. But Folger was fighting back fiercely, sporting superior speed on the home straight.

But it was fairing to fairing with the front two as Cortese stalked the pair from behind. Salom, who had dropped off, was battling Oliveira heavily for fourth. Cortese however was not content to stick it out, as he went past Folger into second to hunt down Khairuddin. And it was a typically breath-taking Moto3 last-lap, with Cortese passing the Malaysian in the final turn to deny him victory at his home track.

Cortese’s victory made him the first man ever to take the Moto3™ title, whilst Khairuddin took his first ever GP podium. Folger completed the rostrum closely behind. Cortese is now the youngest-ever German to win the lightweight class, and only the fourth of his countryman to do so. It is also the first time that a MotoGP category has been won by a KTM machine.

Fourth spot went to Salom, ahead of Oliveira, Kent, Rins, Vázquez, TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo and Vázquez’s teammate Adrian Martín.


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