Red flag prevents Luis Salom’s fight for victory


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider finishes second at Jerez and continues perfect podium run this season. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, seventh, and Arthur Sissis, twelfth, recover places in race prematurely stopped.


The packed grandstands at the Circuito de Jerez witnessed another podium by Luis Salom today –his third this season. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider placed second in a race which was ended early on lap seventeen. Teammates Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis, made up places in the contest to finish seventh and twelfth, respectively.

Luis Salom was only missing a second place from his podium collection at the start of the season, and he took one today. The Spanish rider started strong, slotting into third in the lead group. When Alex Rins crashed out, Salom had only Maverick Viñales ahead of him in the fight for victory. That duel that could not be resolved, however, due to the red flag shown with six laps to go as a result of a crash.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis, eleventh and fourteenth on the grid, made another of the comebacks typical of this first part of the season. The Malaysian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was cutting through the field and setting a great pace when the race was stopped, just like Sissis after a poor start.

After three Grands Prix, Salom lies in second place in the overall standings. Zulfahmi Khairuddin is fifth and Arthur Sissis twelfth. The circuit of Le Mans hosts the next round, the French GP, from May 17th-19th.

Results (Race)
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 26:57.338
2. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +0.263
3. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) +4.475
4. Brad Binder (Suter Honda) +15.104
5. Jakub Kornfeil (Kalex KTM) +18.412
7. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +19.204
12. Arhur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +23.796

Moto3 World Championship
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 65 points
2. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 61 points
3. Alex Rins (KTM) 41 points
4. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 40 points
5. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 28 points
12. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 16 points

Luis Salom >> Audio
“I was calm, because I knew I could attack on the closing laps, and then we had another red flag. It was a shame, because whilst I understand that they are doing it for safety, for the people who were in the stands or at home watching the race on television it would have been nice to see Maverick [Viñales] and I fighting until the last lap. We leave here with another second place and it is a very good result, because it is important to keep adding podiums to the tally. We are doing a very good job and now we have to think about Le Mans.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“The race was good and bad at the same time. I started well, but the first lap did not go well as I had a problem with the front suspension and could not brake late. Everyone was going past me when cornering. Gradually I was able to pick up the pace and started to reach the group in front, until the red flag was shown. I almost caught them, so I’m happy with the race pace and hopefully in the next race we can fight for the top positions.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Malaysian)
“I didn’t make a bad start and was able to maintain my position and begin to overtake. I was lucky, because some riders in front of me crashed  and I could move up positions. Towards the end I felt stronger and I wanted to catch the front group, but the race was stopped when I was running sixth. As the result goes on the previous lap, I was awarded seventh. I’m happy with how things ended this weekend, because we had a very difficult practice, but in the race everything went very well and we improved several positions.”

Aki Ajo >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
“I have a strange feeling from this race, because I do not remember ever having such a good feeling after achieving a second position. I am very happy because we improved a lot with Luis [Salom] over the weekend. In the team we have experience of winning championships, but in his case it is really the first time fighting for this goal, so we have to find the right path for him. He is learning a lot and had a very good race today. Much has changed since yesterday, he managed to save his tyres and follow the frontrunners, then tried to learn from them during the race to be strong on the closing laps. He even had a good chance to fight for the victory, but in any case he is still fighting for the championship and has made a good step forward. Arthur [Sissis] is always having good races, but we have already said that we have to work a little harder in practice to get closer to the limits -because in the race it is too late. He’s a good racer, but we have to improve the rest of his game. With Fahmi [Zulfahmi Khairuddin] it’s similar. Perhaps this year he is focusing a bit too much on some technical details, and this morning we had a good conversation about this, to get him focusing more on just getting on the gas. Overall, I think it was a good weekend in terms of the attitude of the entire team, in which we learned a lot.”

*Audio solely for radio use