Sandro Cortese showed tremendous nerve and maturity to claim victory in the German Grand Prix, becoming the first home winner at the Sachsenring since Grand Prix racing returned here in 1998. A torrential rainstorm minutes before the scheduled start, forcing a delay, but when the race finally got going, pacing yourself on the drying track would be crucial.
Adrian Martin and Jack Miller were most comfortable when the red lights went out, storming past the KTMs of Cortese and Danny Kent. Louis Rossi and Jonas Folger also made swift progress from the third row and were up to third and fourth by the end of lap one with Luis Salom and Brad Binder fifth and sixth for RW Racing GP. The cautious Cortese was back in eighth with Kent even further down in fourteenth.
Miller, who has shone in wet conditions ever since his arrival into Grand Prix racing, dived past Martin to take the lead at the Sachsen curve on lap two. The six man break at the front had four seconds in hand over the rest of the field but Cortese had made his way to the front of the chasing pack by lap seven, setting the fastest lap of the race.
While he was gaining on the leaders, Alexis Masbou was actually putting pressure on from behind and as half distance approached, he was now the fastest man on track. The Frenchman was lapping three seconds quicker than his teammate in the lead and that pace took him past Cortese on lap 12, but both were soon on the tails of the leaders.
Masbou and Cortese were so much faster that they sliced through the leading group as soon as they arrived. Salom had clearly seen them coming and surged ahead of Miller at the start of lap 16 but Masbou was on fire and overtook Louis Rossi, Miller and Salom before they returned to the start/finish line. It was here that Cortese completed his comeback, slipstreaming past Salom for second.
Masbou was eying a first Grand Prix win but Cortese, spurred on by the home crowd wasn't going to be denied and overtook Masbou at the Sachsen curve with just over three laps remaining. Masbou was a safe second and took his first podium in Grand Prix with Salom hanging onto third despite late pressure from the other Caretta Technology Honda of Jack Miller. Louis Rossi lost a potential fifth as his FTR Honda stopped on the penultimate lap, to the despair of Racing Team Germany.
With Cortese winning, attention switched to Maverick Vinales to see if he could salvage some points to hold onto the championship lead. Having started 24th, his only real progress came when others fell off or broke down, with the luckless Jonas Folger among those whose bike failed on him. Brad Binder was another to promote him after crashing six laps from home.
At the start of the last lap, Vinales was in fourteenth but Niklas Ajo, Simone Grotzkyj and Alessandro Tonucci all went past him to leave him seventeenth, just in front of Danny Webb, and he now trails Cortese by 18 points.
Efren Vazquez took fifth for JHK Laglisse but their joy was tempered by the late retirement of Adrian Martin. Zulfahmi Khairuddin was sixth ahead of Hector Faubel who finished a stunning seventh despite being pushed off the grid and being forced to start from the pitlane. Wildcard rider Luca Gruenwald was an excellent eighth with Arthur Sissis and Jakub Kornfeil completing the top ten. Danny Kent couldn't join them in the points after a technical failure on his KTM.