Luis Salom strategy pays off for Italian GP win


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes victory in one of the closest races of 2013 so far. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis each recover seven places and finish eleventh and eighteenth, respectively.


Luis Salom took an impressive victory at the Italian Grand Prix, using an impeccable strategy to his advantage at Mugello. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team thus celebrates an entire year of podium finishes in Moto3. Zulfahmi Khairuddin —eleventh— claimed further points for the team and Arthur Sissis —eighteenth— made a comeback in the latter stages of the race.

Salom started from fifth on the grid, but this did little to impede him from taking his second win of the season and a fifth consecutive podium. The Spanish Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was made to suffer in the early stages, when he was stuck amongst a group of six riders, but with 3 laps remaining he finally moved into the lead.  After several changes of positions, he took the win on the final lap by 0.099 from second-placed Alex Rins.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin today gave a lesson in first lap comebacks, moving up seven positions in one go. The Malaysian rider was part of a large group fighting for eighth place and crossed the finish line eleventh —taking five points. Sissis’ progression was a contrast to this, as he stuck with a group at the start of the race and made his recovery of places in the final stages of the contest.

After five races, Luis Salom remains second in the overall standings but reduces the distance to the class leader, Maverick Viñales, to just 4 points. Zulfahmi Khairuddin is eighth overall and Arthur Sissis lies thirteenth.

Results (Race)
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 39:53.827
2. Alex Rins (KTM)   +0.099
3. Maverick Viñales (KTM)   +0.303
4. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra)   +0.757
5. Alex Marquez (KTM)   +0.819
11. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +19.147
18. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +29.214

Moto3 World Championship
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM)   106 points
2. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo)   102 points
3. Alex Rins (KTM)   81 points
4. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM)   63 points
5. Alex Marquez (KTM)   35 points
8. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 33 points
13. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 19 points

Luis Salom >> Audio
“It was a tough race. I knew that Viñales and Folger would be very fast, and that Rins had very good pace too. Marquez and Oliveira joined that group as well. All of those riders are very strong and I had to give everything I had; fortunately, it worked out. This circuit is very difficult: For example, in 125cc whoever was behind on the last corner didn’t win the race.  But today, although I had my doubts, I gave it a try and took the risk. In the end all the bikes were running the same performance. It’s going to be like that throughout the season, because now we go to Catalonia and Assen circuit —where there are also very long straights. We will give our all. I want to thank Red Bull, Air Asia, KTM and Aki Ajo for this opportunity and for the job they are doing.”

Arthur Sissis,
“That was not an easy race. I started from twenty-fifth position, far back, and with so many riders ahead of me it was not easy off the start. Neither was it so on the early laps, in which I had to be very careful not to make any contact with other riders that would have finished my race. At the end I found a good feeling and gained positions. Now I’m just thinking about the next race and giving a good showing at Montmelo.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Malaysian)
“Early in the race we went very well, we were very near the front group. However, I made a mistake and lost the pace, so the riders behind me caught up with me. The result was not very good, but the positive is that we have improved compared to qualifying. Now we must focus on our work during practice, especially in qualifying. In the first session we always start well, but come Saturday and we can’t get a good position on the grid. I think if I manage to start from the front positions and stay with the lead group, I can do well.”

Aki Ajo >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
“The first thing I have to say is I am very happy with the race today and I am very grateful to Luis and the whole team. It really was Luis’ day, as he showed his potential and demonstrated how smart you have to be as a rider during a race here. It is not only important to have a fast bike and the best setup. The team has to be prepared, the rider too, but especially the mentality. Today he rode an intelligent race. Regarding Fahmi —Zulfahmi Khairuddin—, perhaps the results have not yet come for him, but he and the team are very happy, because we are seeing improvement and we are on the right track. We know and trust that we are getting closer to where we want to be, and we just have to improve in practice, because the race pace is good. With Arthur Sissis, he is making a rather inconsistent start to the season. We have seen very good things from him, but in weekends like this he has had some difficulties. I think what didn’t work today was the start and the opening laps, in  which he did not find a good pace —because I know he can be in the second group.”

*Audio solely for radio use