October, 23 2012
Thirteen may not be most people’s idea of a lucky number, but for German Sandro Cortese it is a number he is likely to remember for a long time to come.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has been on the podium no less than 13 times out of 15 races in Moto3’s inaugural championship year. There has even been a consistency to the occasions, in France and Japan, when Cortese failed to make the podium by finishing sixth in both races.
His calculated and clinical performance at Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix took the number of wins this season to four; with the 22-year-old placing third on five occasions and on the second step in four races.
Consistency has been the hallmark of Cortese’s career since moving up from the German championship in 2005 with his 125cc debut on a Honda, when he placed 26th with 16 race starts.
Since then, like a shark circling its prey, the German has closed in on the championship, carefully and confidently, gradually improving his performances and finishes with each passing season, ending last year in fourth place as part of the Aprilia line-up.
Though he had to wait until August’s Czech Republic GP in 2011 for his first 125cc victory, the floodgates soon opened: that year he took third at Indianapolis, first at Phillip Island and second at Sepang, the circuit where, one year later, he would wrap up his historic Moto3 title.
“It’s an incredible feeling, with this victory today this is the best day of my life,” said Cortese, who becomes the youngest German rider to win a lightweight MotoGP class world title.
“I’m just enjoying every minute. I could have been third today but I really wanted to win the championship with a victory. I wanted to show how strong I am,” the German added.
“I was strong last season with six podiums and two victories, and this year I brought good energy from last season. I worked a lot with Ajo, KTM and Red Bull and everything come together. That was the key. It is so nice to be the first Moto3 world champion. It’s my life dream come true.”
Cortese’s title win also makes him only the fourth German rider to win the lightweight class world title (Werner Haas in 1953, Dieter Braun in 1970, Dirk Raudies in 1993).
Significantly, Cortese becomes the first rider of a KTM manufactured bike to take a world title in any of the three MotoGP categories.
“It’s an unbelievable and wonderful day for KTM and all KTM Racing Fans,” said KTM CEO Stefan Pierer after the race. “With Sandro becoming the first rider to win a World Championship on asphalt (for KTM) it is an unforgettable milestone in the history of the company.”