Sandro Cortese’s grip on the 2012 Moto3 world title hunt tightened today after he claimed a third win of the season in an exciting Misano battle.
The Red Bull KTM rider survived intense late pressure after taking the lead from home crowd favourite Romano Fenati on lap 21 to win for the first time since his home round at the Sachsenring in Germany.
It was a crucial win for Cortese with main title rival Maverick Vinales only rewarded with fifth place after he’d produced an impressive charge through the field from a lowly 11th on the grid.
The Spaniard had been content to bide his time in a large group battling for the podium and the FTR-Honda rider didn't break into the top three until two laps from the end when he passed Alex Rins for third.
He then moved into second spot by Indianapolis winner Luis Salom, but just when he looked to pile the pressure on Cortese he made a small mistake and lost contact.
Worse was to follow for Vinales. He held third on the approach to the final corner but was pushed wide by compatriot Alex Rins and he dropped back to fifth.
Rins didn’t even secure a podium for his bold move with long-time leader Fenati winning a drag race to the line to claim the last spot on the rostrum.
Cortese now holds a commanding 46-point lead over Vinales with five races remaining, while Salom secured a sixth rostrum of the campaign with second.
Salom is now only 10-points adrift of Vinales in second position.
British rider Danny Kent had a disappointing 23-lap race. He got a great start from fourth on the grid and briefly held second but he dropped back to eventually finish in a lowly 12th after running off track twice in the early stages.
Danny Webb’s race didn’t last long as the Mahindra rider was involved in a four-rider incident at the first corner. Webb tumbled out with Guilian Pedone, Alan Techer and Kevin Calia and he was unable to re-join.