Luis Salom recovers four places and continues as series leader29/09/2013
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider just off the podium at Aragon, but remains the top man in Moto3. Arthur Sissis finishes ninth and Zulfahmi Khairuddin crashes out from eleventh.
The Aragon Grand Prix took place today at MotorLand and concluded with a fourth place for Luis Salom, who came up from the third row of the grid to claim 13 more points for his overall tally. The Spaniard continues to lead the way in the World Championship. Arthur Sissis was able to keep up his practice form for ninth place, whilst Zulfahmi Khairrudin suffered a crash at Turn 2 when fighting with a rival for eighth.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders began well at MotorLand, with Salom moving up to sixth, Sissis seventh and Khairuddin tenth. The World Championship leader was able to go up another place before the end of the opening lap and latched onto Miguel Oliveira for almost the entirety of the race. Leaving behind the group of Jonas Folger and Philipp Oettl, the duo then fought for fourth –with Salom using experience to his advantage to claim the place.
Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin formed part of the battle for eighth, in the third group in the race. Eight riders were fighting for the spot, and there were constant changes in positions throughout the race. Khairuddin was at the front, until contact with Efren Vazquez knocked him down and out. Sissis took ninth place.
Red Bull KTM Ajo will begin the flyaway section of the Moto3 series with Salom leading the championship. He has 259 points -9 more than his nearest rival, Alex Rins. Zulfahmi Khairuddin lies tenth with 60 points and Sissis eleventh with 59.
After scans at the Clinica Mobile, Zulfahmi Khairuddin was diagnosed with a fracture of his right wrist. He will undergo another checkup in Barcelona tomorrow, before a small operation to get him ready for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
1. Alex Rins (KTM) 40.04.214
2. Maverick Viñales (KTM) +0.426
3. Alex Marquez (KTM) +12.377
4. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +16.416
5. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) +16.496
9. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +27.888
DNF – Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
Moto3 World Championship
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 259 points
2. Alex Rins (KTM) 250 points
3. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 247 points
4. Alex Marquez (KTM) 149 points
5. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 129 points
10. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 60 points
11. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTm Ajo) 59 points
Luis Salom >> Audio
“I think we had a good race –much better than at Misano– and I think with how the race went we got the best possible result. That’s the most important thing. I’m happy to have finished fourth. This morning we improved in the warmup and the race as well, but we lacked a little something to get up to the first group. The first lap was key. As the race went on I tried to impose my pace alongside Oliveira and, despite us getting in each other’s way a little, we were able to catch Oettl. This is a good fourth place. We have to be satisfied, because we still lead the championship and would have taken that at the start of the season. There are four races remaining and we should continue to work as we always have done.”
Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“It wasn’t a bad race, but I expected a little better because yesterday, riding alone, I had quite a good pace. At the beginning of the race I could not ride comfortably, because other riders started overtaking one another like crazy and I couldn’t keep consistent, so Salom’s group broke free. In our group we had a big fight with up to eight riders involved. I held back for a few laps, watching what was happening. I saw that Fenati was beginning to escape, so I thought it might be my chance to leave the battle behind. I got out in front and tried to catch Fenati, with a decent pace that saw some of my fastest lap. I’m a little disappointed not to have finished higher up, but happy because it was a pretty nice race.”
Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio
“At the beginning of the race it was very difficult to catch the front guys, and I did not manage to have a good first few laps. I was riding in eighth position and think I could have been a little faster, but there were many riders fighting a lot amongst one another. In every corner Efren Vazquez was trying to overtake me, but I think I was faster than him on many parts of the circuit. Then, out of the first corner with five laps to go, neither of us saw the other and I was knocked off track. I have a small fracture of my wrist, so tomorrow I will be operated on in Barcelona and hope to be all good for the Malaysian Grand Prix.”
Aki Ajo >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
“I think that with Luis starting from eighth, fourth was the best that we could hope for. He felt good riding and didn’t do badly. I think he did a good job. We have been testing a new chassis and wanted to try some new things out on Saturday morning, but we were unlucky with the weather and went into qualifying without much data. He didn’t feel ideal, but this morning was much more positive with the changes we made to the bike. He pushed very hard on the early laps to catch the lead group. He didn’t quite manage that, but you can’t always win and it is important that Luis relaxes, clears his mind and looks ahead. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis’s weekend wasn’t bad. From the start they were consistent and I am happy with their progress –especially that of Arthur, who had a very good race today. Fahmi also rode well, but lost a little pace in the race and unfortunately crashed out.”
*Audio solely for radio use