Sandro Cortese wins mixed-weather Moto3 thriller
Sandro Cortese became the first German to win a grand prix race at the Sachsenring in more than 13 years after defeating Alexis Masbou in a mixed-weather thriller
A torrential downpour delayed the start of the race and ensured conditions were extremely wet when it did finally begin, but the rain quickly abated and by the end a clear dry line had emerged across the circuit.
The changing conditions effectively split the race into several stages, with both Cortese (Ajo KTM ) - who had started from pole - and Masbou (Caretta Honda) outside the top six for the first handful of laps.
As the weather eased however both started to fly. Masbou passed Cortese for sixth and both began to charge, closing a six second deficit to the lead pack of five riders within two laps.
One lap later and Masbou had scythed his way through into the lead, with Cortese following suit to move into second. The latter's team-mate Jack Miller, Louis Rossi (Germany FTR-Honda), Adrian Martin (Laglisse Honda), Luis Salom (RW Kalex-KTM) and Brad Binder (RW Kalex-KTM) were their victims.
The pair's surge sparked a now seven-way battle for the lead, the top group often covered by less than 1.5s, but as conditions continued to improve their pace eventually told, with only Salom able to stay with them.
In their attempts to keep the pace, and on wet tyres now struggling on the dry line, Binder and Rossi were both late casualties.
Cortese gained some breathing space by setting a new fastest lap on his penultimate tour, while the race's overall best on his final tour allowed him to eventually claim victory, and with it the championship lead - erstwhile leader Maverick Vinales' miserable weekend complete as he finished just 17th.
Masbour followed him home to record his first ever grand prix podium, while Salom just held off a resurgent Miller for third - five hundredths all that separated them at the flag.
Vazquez (Laglisse Honda), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ajo KTM) and Hector Faubel (Aspar Kalex-KTM) completed the top seven. The latter fought his way back after having to start from the pitlane when he stalled on the grid.
Results - 27 laps Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap 1. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM 45m36.868s 2. Alexis Masbou Caretta Honda + 0.635s 3. Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM + 3.998s 4. Jack Miller Caretta Honda + 4.051s 5. Efren Vazquez Laglisse FTR-Honda + 12.119s 6. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Ajo KTM + 25.174s 7. Hector Faubel Aspar Kalex-KTM + 25.499s 8. Luca Gruenwald Freudenberg Honda + 26.087s 9. Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM + 29.675s 10. Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda + 29.891s 11. Toni Finsterbusch MZ Honda + 33.178s 12. Niccolò Antonelli Gresini FTR-Honda + 42.858s 13. Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR Honda + 1m02.653s 14. Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM + 1m10.253s 15. Simone Grotzkyj Ambrogio Suter-Honda + 1m10.447s 16. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FMI FTR-Honda + 1m10.640s 17. Maverick Vinales Avintia FTR-Honda + 1m11.122s 18. Danny Webb Mahindra + 1m11.306s 19. Miguel Oliveira Monlau Suter-Honda + 1m18.878s 20. Alex Rins Monlau Suter-Honda + 1m18.957s 21. Isaac Vinales Ongetta FTR-Honda + 1 lap 22. Luigi Morciano Ioda Italia + 1 lap 23. Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR Honda + 1 lap 24. Romano Fenati Italia FMI FTR-Honda + 1 lap 25. Ivan Moreno Laglisse FTR-Honda + 1 lap 26. Kevin Hanus Sabo Honda + 1 lap 27. Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Suter-Honda + 3 laps Retirements: Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda 25 laps Marcel Schrotter Mahindra 24 laps Alberto Moncayo Aspar Kalex-KTM 23 laps Danny Kent Ajo KTM 22 laps Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM 21 laps Adrian Martin Laglisse FTR-Honda 20 laps Jonas Folger Ioda 17 laps Jasper Iwema FGR Honda 16 laps
Sandro Cortese grabs superb Moto3 pole at wet Sachsenring
Maverick Vinales steals Mugello Moto3 pole from title rival Sandro Cortese