Title challenge take-two for Cortese in Sepang

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Following a crash in Japan that put paid to his title aspirations for another week, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese will have another chance this weekend to snatch the Moto3™ world title at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang this Sunday.

In Japan he was only three corners away from being crowned, before his teammate Danny Kent and Team Italian FMI’s Alessandro Tonucci got past him, after which the German crashed and finishing in sixth, yet still gaining a 56-point lead. Despite a strong initial reaction, Cortese is known for his composure, and will undoubtedly be racing with his head this weekend, as he knows that victory over Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom will secure his first ever GP title.

Viñales, whose title challenge was derailed in Aragón due to a bike issue, which since has been clarified as a mechanical engine fault and not an ECU issue by all parties involved, will be hoping that his apparent lack of power compared to the KTMs will not hold him back at the Sepang track, where he took victory in the 125cc class last year. Salom will have an even tougher job, as his crash at Motegi has resulted in a five-place grid penalty for the Spaniard.

Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, who was the one taken out by Salom as he led into the final lap, will be aiming to put the incident behind him and carry over his good form and high pace, as he looks for another win this season. As the only Malaysian in the entire GP field, all eyes from the locals will be on AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who is still searching that elusive first podium, despite showing sufficient pace throughout many practice sessions.

The aforementioned Danny Kent looked in ominous form last weekend and could well be anther contender for the podium and even victory, as the Britain looks to have found a way of converting his pace into a race win. And with Tonucci looking on-song, as well as the always-reliable Alex Rins on his Estrella Galicia 0,0 machine a regular in the top ten, the Sepang Moto3 race promises to be an entertaining affair.

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