Sandro Cortese underlined his status as Moto3 world champion with a superbly judged victory in Australia, outlasting Miguel Oliveira in the closing stages. Arthur Sissis delighted the home crowd by claiming his first Grand Prix podium but Luis Salom and Maverick Vinales, rivals for the runner-up spot in the championship, both had races to forget.
Salom’s problems began before the red lights even went out, namely because he’d already left his grid slot. The Spaniard wasn’t the only rider to jump the start though with Jonas Folger moving too early in the middle of the front row while Louis Rossi, Alberto Moncayo and Jack Miller also blinked too early.
That left many of the leading riders in false positions but once all ride/through penalties had been served, Cortese and Oliveira had a three second lead over a fierce fight for the final podium position. Maverick Vinales was at the head of the queue but the top-end speed of the factory KTM ensured Sissis would stay in touch. After a terrible opening two laps, Danny Kent was also close behind with Alex Rins, Efren Vazquez and the Team Italia FTRs of Romano Fenati and Alessandro Tonucci completing the pack. Vinales would take himself out of play on lap fifteen though with a crash at Siberia, reducing the group to six riders.
Back at the front, Oliveira continued to shadow Cortese and appeared to be riding on the ragged edge behind the KTM. The Portuguese rider found enough grip to take the lead six laps from the finish after diving up the inside at Stoner corner but Cortese’s true potential would quickly become apparent. After two laps of following the Suter-Honda, the German blasted past on the start/finish straight and immediately scampered into the distance, pulling out a two-second lead before the chequered flag.
With a lap to go, the final rostrum place looked to be between the two remaining Red Bull KTMs with Sissis holding off Kent. Danny edged ahead at Stoner corner but the home favourite regained third with a late-braking manoeuvre at the Honda hairpin. That move would prove decisive as Sissis held on for the remaining eight corners to take a fine third place while Alex Rins judged his exit from the last corner perfectly to snatch fourth on the line. Kent kept Romano Fenati back by 0.002s to finish fifth with Alessandro Tonucci and Efren Vazquez seventh and eighth.
After his hasty getaway, Jonas Folger could do no better than eleventh while Luis Salom sneaked into the points in fifteenth thanks to some late retirements. British duo John McPhee and Sam Clarke made it to the finish in 19th and 25th respectively but Danny Webb never started at all due to a lack of spare parts at Mahindra.