Last Gasp Cortese Leads First Practice in Malaysia

Sandro Cortese - Photo Credit:
Sandro Cortese - Photo Credit:


Sandro Cortese pulled out a stunning lap right at the end of FP1 to top the timesheets in the opening practice session for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. The Sepang circuit looked tailor made for the Aspar Aprilias with Nicolas Terol and Hector Faubel dominating most of the session but Cortese sneaked in front of them with his final lap of the morning.

French rider Louis Rossi was the surprise leader at the halfway stage but Terol signalled his intentions with a 2:16.575, over a second quicker than anyone else had managed before pulling out another three tenths on his next lap.

Sepang debutant Maverick Vinales moved up to second with 12 minutes to go, closing the gap to 0.329s but Faubel set a new benchmark at the start of his final run, clocking a 2:15.498. That seemed like an unbeatable lap time but Terol eased ahead of his teammate with a 2:15.012, giving the Aspar duo a full second in their pocket again.

Cortese cut the gap down to seven tenths but no-one seemed likely to touch the top two, but the German sprung a major surprise with a 2:14.936, edging ahead of Terol by just under a tenth.

Terol and Faubel finished second and third in a strong morning for the team with Efren Vazquez the leading Derbi rider in fourth. Vinales finished fifth ahead of the second Avant-AirAsia-Ajo bike ridden by Johann Zarco. The Frenchman is the only man who can deny Terol the 125cc crown but he will have to improve quickly if he is to send the title fight down to the wire.

Danny Kent made a bright start in seventh ahead of Red Bull Ajo teammate Jonas Folger with Jakub Kornfeil just behind in ninth. Danny Webb was 15th for Mahindra while Harry Stafford and Taylor Mackenzie also started well, ending the morning 20th and 23rd respectively.