"I expected some evolution from GT Racing 2 (my previos mobile racer, but incompatible with most new devices, including my new tablet) or Real Racing 3"
Those are completely different games. Asphalt 9 is an overtop arcade racer. It's the furthest from a sim you can get.
I played with the manual option ( in Switch will have this option). And the game is very fun for a free game ( the seasons pass not so pricey too)
One arcade race with the good sensation of velocity.
I have 180/200 hours in the game.
The leagues are fun if you have friends enough or acquaintances. The events and special events are good.
It's an arcade race game, not a sim or something like Dirt 2 or Real Racing 2( mix of sim and arcade games).
On smartphones, you can´t play any Sim game and the best hybrid car game is Real Racing 2(EA destroy the franchise).
Yes, I knew from the start I couldn't expect a true racing sim on mobiles, but at best sim/arcade hybrids, and about this it wasn't Asphalt's fault but Google's to be so dumb to suggest it to me when I was asking for a sim, but this said, I played some arcade racers, and since I have a PC the ones I tried offered more user control on steering, acceleration and braking than Asphalt 9, I hadn't felt so little control on direction and so much on-rails sensation since the times of vertical scrolling racers and Laserdisc games in the coin-op era. I get there is still a market for such games, but this doesn't remove the sensation I got from it, it reminded me of that Fire Fox Laserdisc game I played the last time when I was a conscript, '89-'90 (and it was already old, but the military base was in the suburbs of a small town, and the closest arcade wasn't very up to date)...
PS By the way, I've been recently playing an almost totally arcade racer, NFS: No Limits, it's still installed on my old tablet, and even offering no user control on braking and acceleration (except nitro), it still offers a lot more control on steering than Asphalt, and a 3D and not flat and too much on-rails sensation.