Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese took victory in a thrilling battle to the line with rival Maverick Viñales in the Moto3 class at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril.
It was Cortese who got the holeshot and led into the first corner, ahead of Blusens Avintia’s Viñales. After the typical Moto3 melee of 34 bikes swapping places in the opening laps, a leading group containing Cortese, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom, JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, Viñales and Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent started to pull away early on.
In the latter stages of the race, Cortese moved past Viñales at the end of the straight to take the lead, though could not shake the young Spaniard, as the two were wheel to wheel for the final three laps. Salom, then lying in fourth, also took the fight to Air-Asia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin in front, as he pushed past him on the first bend with two laps to go.
The last lap was a nail-biting affair as Viñales and Cortese touched fairings throughout, yet it was the German who won the drag to the line after the final bend, to take his first victory of the season and the lead in the championship. The last step on the podium went to Salom, who manage to hold Khairuddin at bay to secure third. The top ten were rounded out by Efrén Vázquez, San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins, Danny Kent, Caretta-Technology’s Alexis Masbou and Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil.