Kent Denies Cortese At Final Corner In Valencia

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Danny Kent had the last word over teammate Sandro Cortese by beating the world champion to victory at Valencia. In damp conditions, the Briton chased down Cortese on the final lap before overtaking him at the very last corner of the season to take his second Moto3 win and with it, fourth overall in the championship.

The conditions saw the form book disappear out of the window but Jonas Folger would still have entered as the favourite. Unfortunately for the German though, he wouldn’t take up his pole position. The drama began in morning warm-up when his Kalex-KTM broke down and on his sighting lap to the grid, it became clear that the problem hadn’t fixed as the motorcycle ground to a halt at turn five. The home-based Aspar team worked miracles to get the bike up and running in time for the race but Folger was forced to do so from the pitlane, although the gremlins would return for a third and final time on lap eight, ending his race.

Folger’s misfortune effectively handed pole to Miguel Oliveira and the Portuguese took the lead on lap four courtesy of a crash from Alex Marquez. The 2012 Spanish Moto3 Champion had rocketed up the order from twelfth on the grid but binned it seconds after overtaking Oliveira and Luis Salom. Salom was looking to wrap up second in the championship but plummeted into the midfield towards where his rival Maverick Vinales was hiding. Before long, the two were fighting over tenth with neither comfortable in the conditions.

Once the race had settled down, or as much as is possible in Moto3, a leading group of nine had distanced themselves from the two Spaniard with Cortese taking the lead ahead of Oliveira and Efren Vazquez but the pack was reduced to seven when the Laglisse rider lost the front end of his FTR-Honda at turn eight, wiping out his 2013 Mahindra teammate in the process.

Cortese therefore had a one second lead over Louis Rossi with Danny Kent fighting over third with the impressive Brad Binder. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Hector Faubel and Jack Miller completed the group but the Australian fell off the back of it with a crash at turn one five laps from home.

Kent used the power of his factory KTM to take second on lap nineteen but try as he might, the British rider couldn’t close the gap to Cortese with Brad Binder putting more pressure on him than he was applying to his teammate. On the final lap, that would all change as Kent halved the nine-tenth gap in sector two before pulling back another tenth in sector three. Victory still seemed a long shot with a corner to go but Kent left his braking later than Cortese had predicted, catching the world champion completely unaware and snatching the win within sight of the flag.

Agonisingly for Brad Binder, Zulfahmi Khairuddin pulled off an identical move at the same time to take the final podium spot, denying the South African his first trip to the rostrum. Hector Faubel beat a fading Louis Rossi to fifth while Jakub Kornfeil came home a solid seventh.

The late retirement of Miller handed eighth to Maverick Vinales while Niklas Ajo outdragged Luis Salom out of the final corner to take ninth. Tenth was more than enough for Salom to take the runner-up spot overall though. The expected fight for fourth in the standings between Alex Rins and Romano Fenati never materialised with both failing to score in the wet. As a result, both were overtaken by the victorious Kent although Rins did claim the consolation prize of top rookie in the class.

Neither John McPhee nor Danny Webb saw the chequered flag with McPhee crashing out of a points position while Webb’s race never picked up after starting from the pitlane. Both will look forward to their new challenges in Moto3 next season.

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