British Grand Prix: KTM riders again unstoppable
Red Bull KTM Ajo factory rider Luis Salom of Spain displayed both speed and race craft on Sunday to take his sixth Moto3 GP of the season at Britain’s Silverstone circuit to surge ahead with a 26-point lead in the championship.
On Sunday Salom was clearly the big winner of a group of four riders who have settled in to dominate the competition this season. Teammates Alex Rins and Alex Marquez were 2-3 on the podium and pole man Maverick Vinales finished fourth, his first time this season off the podium. All four riders are on KTM Moto3 racing machines, giving the Austrian manufacturer yet another clean sweep.
“This was a tough race,” Salom said. “Maverick was very strong at the beginning of the race and I knew I had to improve to cut back the time. Also this is a long circuit but it is still not easy to pass.” The Spaniard’s ride was all the more remarkable because he continues to ride with a fractured heel.
Vinales, who won in Silverstone last year was very strong in qualifying and looked a potential winner in the first half of the race. Had he succeeded he would have been able to cut the gap between him to a token amount. Instead by finishing fourth he now finds his fellow Spaniard with a significant 26-point lead with six round left in the competition.
By the half way mark the group of four had surged away from the following group and traded the lead often and quickly in the middle part of the race. By the end of the race they had distanced themselves from the rest of the pack by 20 seconds on the sweeping 5.9 km British circuit.
There was no telling the outcome as the four riders went into the final laps As they went into the second half of the race then Salom made the move from the back of the group to take the lead with three laps to go. Meanwhile the minor places were hotly contested between Rins and Marquez and this two way battle held off Vinales, who finished a disappointing fourth.
Salom’s two Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Zulfahmi Khairuddin of Malaysia and Arthur Sissis of Australia had mixed fortunes. Khairuddin had a problem on the grid and had to start from the pit lane going on to be ranked 20th. Sissis, who was suffering from a cold finished 24th.
Riders now have a one-week break before the competition resumes in San Marino for Round 12.