Misano Moto3: Sandro Cortese wins to extend points lead
Sandro Cortese thwarted a brave Maverick Vinales fight back to extend his championship lead with a masterful ride at Misano
The German pushed the pace early on, determined to capitalise on a qualifying in which he had sealed pole and Vinales, his nearest rival, struggled to 11th.
Initially his advantage was huge, as Vinales was hung out at the start and slipped as low as 17th.
Rather than spell disaster, however, that precipitated a brave response from Vinales, who fought his way back up the order and eventually made contact with a lead group of six other riders from which the Ajo KTM of Cortese had been unable to escape.
Jerez racewinner and home favourite Romano Fenati (Italia FMI FTR-Honda) gave Vinales's hopes a further boost by displacing Cortese at the front of the field and leading the majority of the race.
With six laps to go Alex Rins also passed Cortese, and with Vinales (Avintia FTR-Honda) up to fourth the championship's chief protagonists were together for the first time.
Vinales would drop back again, with Cortese moving in the opposite direction back to the front, but with two laps to run he charged again and moved into third.
Now locked with Cortese and Luis Salom, Vinales stole second on the final lap but stumbled at the final hurdle, losing momentum when he looked for an inside line Cortese was easily able to close off.
That not only allowed Cortese breathing space through the final turns, it dropped Vinales back into the clutches of the chasing pack.
Salom (RW Kalex-KTM) was the first to pick him off, but at the final turn Alex Rins - on his own charge, having started 17th - also forced his Monlau Honda down the inside of Vinales.
As the pair squabbled, Fenati was able to steal ahead on the exit to snatch third.
Finishing fifth as a result, Vinales now trails Cortese by 48 points heading into the final five races.
Results - 23 laps:
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap 1. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM 40m22.100s 2. Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM + 0.467s 3. Romano Fenati Italia FMI FTR-Honda + 0.937s 4. Alex Rins Monlau Honda + 0.974s 5. Maverick Vinales Avintia FTR-Honda + 1.145s 6. Jonas Folger Aspar Kalex KTM + 1.180s 7. Efren Vazquez Laglisse Honda + 1.315s 8. Niccolo Antonelli Gresini Honda + 3.983s 9. Miguel Oliveira Monlau Honda + 4.376s 10. Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM + 10.872s 11. Muhammad Zulfahmi Ajo KTM + 14.499s 12. Danny Kent Ajo KTM + 14.604s 13. Hector Faubel Aspar Kalex-KTM + 14.880s 14. Alberto Moncayo Aspar Kalex-KTM + 21.011s 15. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda + 21.062s 16. Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM + 21.777s 17. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FMI FTR-Honda + 24.493s 18. Toni Finsterbusch MZ-Honda + 59.383s 19. Miroslav Popov Mahindra + 59.685s 20. Michael Rinaldi Caretta Honda + 59.841s 21. Luigi Morciano Ioda + 1m19.973s 22. Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda + 1m22.961s 23. Josep Rodriguez Ongetta FTR-Honda + 1m23.080s 24. Stefano Valtulini Imperiali Honda + 2 laps Retirements: Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM 21 laps Alex Marquez Estrella Suter Honda 4 laps Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda 3 laps Armando Pontone Ioda 3 laps Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Oral 3 laps Jack Miller Caretta Honda 2 laps Jasper Iwema FGR-Honda 1 lap Kevin Calia Elle2Ciatti Honda 0 laps Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 0 laps Danny Webb Mahindra 0 laps
Misano Moto3: Sandro Cortese on pole as title rival Maverick Vinales struggles
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