Salom maintains series lead in chaotic race


Luis Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin crash out on opening corners, physician taken out by other riders. Arthur Sissis places just outside the points in sixteenth.


The Japanese Grand Prix was a tricky race featuring many crashes, cheap in which unfortunately two Red Bull KTM Ajo were taken out on the opening lap. First to fall was Zulfahmi Khairuddin, prescription with Luis Salom following just a few corners later.  In both cases the crashes came due to contact from another rider. Salom remains Moto3 series leader by 2 points over Maverick Viñales. Arthur Sissis completes race in sixteenth.

The entire weekend was one to forget. After only being able to undertake qualifying yesterday and a practice session this morning, the Japanese GP started off badly for Red Bull KTM Ajo. On the very first corner, Zulfahmi Khairuddin was hit by another rider and knocked to the ground. Just a few corners afterwards, Luis Salom was taken out by Isaac Viñales. Despite rejoining the race and putting in fastest laps, Salom would crash again 12 laps from the chequered flag. The result was not completely negative, however, as Alex Rins would later crash out and a win for Alex Marquez would keep Salom at the head of the overall standings.

Arthur Sissis was just outside the points at Motegi. Taking off from row seven of the grid, the Australian kept his position until the end. He fought with a group of riders on every lap to finally place sixteenth.

The title fight will go down to the wire in two weeks’ time at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. Luis Salom will defend his 2-point lead over Maverick Viñales and 5-point lead over Alex Rins. Zulfahmi Khairuddin lies twelfth with 65 points and Arthur Sissis is fifteenth with 59.

Results (Race)
1. Alex Marquez (KTM)   39:45.953
2. Maverick Viñales (KTM)   +0.027
3. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM)   +7.750
4. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra)   +15.889
5. Romano Fenati (FTR Honda)   +18.323
16. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo)  +42.159
DNF – Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
DNF – Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

Moto3 World Championship
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo)   300 points
2. Maverick Viñales (KTM)   298 points
3. Alex Rins (KTM)   295 points
4. Alex Marquez (KTM)   200 points
5. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM)   163 points
12. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo)  65 points
15. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo)   59 points

Luis Salom >> Audio
“After the first crash, I think that riding at the same pace –or faster– than the frontrunners was important for me. I felt very comfortable and my feeling with the bike was very good. The second crash was strange, because I lost the rear and wasn’t expecting it at all. Later on, in the garage, we saw that this was due to damage suffered in the first crash. After seeing how everything turned out, I am happy to keep the series lead. That is the important thing. It is all at stake in Valencia and I am sure that both I and the team will give our all.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“After a rather crazy weekend, the race was a difficult one. We had just 10 minutes of practice time in good conditions this morning to find a good dry setup. I am not happy with the result, so now I have to focus on the season finale in Valencia.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Bahasa)
“The truth is that I can’t say too much about this race. It was all over for me on the opening corner, when another rider ran into me and knocked me off the track. It is a shame, because this morning I felt very good and had a strong pace. I knew that I could go even faster. Now we have to forget about this race and focus on Valencia.”

Aki Ajo >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
“It is clear that after this race we are not happy, because Luis’ crash came through a mistake from another rider. That is why I am disappointed, because I thought we had a good chance of the victory here at Motegi. We have to be positive and look ahead like always. We have to concentrate on our own job at hand and face the final GP knowing that everything is still wide open. This team and this rider never give up, so we shall continue giving our all. Fahmi [Zulfahmi Khairuddin] had a good practice session this morning and had a good race pace as well. Just like Luis, it was a pity that another rider ran into him on the opening corner. Arthur [Sissis] placed sixteenth, at the end of a difficult weekend. He is not happy with the result, so now is the time to focus on the last race at Valencia and try to get the best result possible.”

*Audio solely for radio use