Motegi Moto3: Danny Kent takes maiden win as Sandro Cortese falls in late drama
Danny Kent claimed his maiden grand prix in an astonishing finish to the Motegi Moto3 race
With half a lap to go it looked like Sandro Cortese was on course to claim the series' inaugural world championship, only for a clash with Alessandro Tonucci to send the points leader to the ground.
While Cortese got back on to finish sixth, Maverick Vinales' second place kept the title battle alive for another week.
Kent, Jonas Folger, Luis Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin were the main protagonists initially in a four-bike breakaway pack. Cortese and Cortese were back in the next group, jostling with Tonucci and Alex Rins.
Folger and Kent swapped first place repeatedly in the first half of the race, before Tonucci, Cortese and Vinales reeled the top group in.
This was a breakthrough performance by Team Italia's Tonucci, who had never previously finished above 10th but was now a genuine contender for victory.
Folger led into the last lap, only for Salom to slide down the inside into Turn 1 from fourth place, passing Tonucci and Cortese successfully but then slamming into Folger.
That handed the lead to Cortese, and with Vinales back in fourth behind Kent and Tonucci, the Ajo man was set to clinch the championship.
As Vinales battled to get past Tonucci, Kent dived past team-mate Cortese into the right-hander before the tunnel to snatch the race lead.
Tonucci followed Kent through, relegating Cortese to third. As he tried to fight back, he clashed with the Italian and slid to the ground.
Kent proceeded to claim his first win, with Monlau rider Vinales slipping through to second as Tonucci recovered momentum.
The wild finish allowed Rins and Khairuddin to reappear in fourth and fifth, ahead of Cortese, who got going just in time to beat the next large pack, led by Miguel Oliveira.
Cortese then angrily gesticulated at Kent on the slowing-down lap, seemingly blaming his race-winning team-mate for starting the problem with his initial overtaking move.
Results - 20 laps: Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap 1. Danny Kent Ajo KTM 40m02.775s 2. Maverick Vinales Avintia FTR-Honda + 0.260s 3. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FTR-Honda + 2.352s 4. Alex Rins Monlau Suter-Honda + 3.404s 5. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Ajo KTM + 3.645s 6. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM + 13.394s 7. Miguel Oliveira Monlau Suter-Honda + 15.523s 8. Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda + 15.739s 9. Efren Vazquez Laglisse FTR-Honda + 15.946s 10. Romano Fenati Italia FTR-Honda + 16.129s 11. Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM + 16.223s 12. Niccolo Antonelli Gresini FTR-Honda + 16.371s 13. Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM + 28.368s 14. Alex Marquez Ambrogio Suter-Honda + 28.375s 15. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda + 28.509s 16. Hyuga Watanabe U 7C Harc-Honda + 31.071s 17. Adrian Martin Laglisse FTR-Honda + 40.292s 18. Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda + 42.822s 19. Jack Miller Caretta Honda + 42.896s 20. Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda + 47.451s 21. John McPhee Caretta KRP Honda + 48.245s 22. Luca Amato Aspar Kalex-KTM + 48.359s 23. Isaac Vinales Ongetta FTR-Honda + 48.439s 24. Josep Rodriguez FGR Honda + 1m03.762s 25. Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Suter-Honda + 1m10.290s 26. Danny Webb Mahindra + 1m10.484s 27. Yuudai Kamei 18 Garage Honda + 1 lap Retirements: Jonas Folger Aspar Kalex-KTM 19 laps Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM 19 laps Alberto Moncayo Laglisse FTR-Honda 19 laps Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM 14 laps Toni Finsterbusch Germany Honda 3 laps Armando Pontone Ioda 0 laps Riccardo Moretti Mahindra 0 laps
Motegi Moto3: Danny Kent pips Maverick Vinales to claim maiden pole
Sepang Moto3: Maverick Vinales quits team, misses final three races
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