Luis Salom has moved back into the lead of the Moto3 world championship after a superbly judged victory at Catalunya, his second win in a row. The Red Bull KTM Ajo won a thrilling race which eventually boiled down to three-way fight between the title contenders Salom, Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales.
The long pit straight provided the usual slipstreaming mayhem that has become synonymous with the junior class as Salom, Rins and Vinales went to battle with Alex Marquez and the two Mahindras of Efren Vazquez and Miguel Oliveira. As the pace picked up, the Portuguese rider would fall off the back of the group and it was left to Vazquez to uphold honours for the Indian squad.
With four laps to go, Efren’s brave challenge finally faded and the all-Spanish shootout was now down to four riders. Salom looked to have timed his run to perfection having loitered at the rear of the leading group in the first half of the race and eased clear by half a second but Rins and Vinales weren’t giving up and set fastest laps almost simultaneously to move right back on Salom’s tail.
However, Luis clearly had matters well under control and responded superbly to pull out just enough bike lengths to see off Rins on the final lap, eventually pipping the Estrella Galicia rider by 0.211s. Vinales was four tenths further back as his four point championship lead turned into a five point deficit with Marquez and Vazquez completing a Spanish lockout of the top five.
Oliveira took sixth ahead of Jack Miller who rode a fine race to seventh. The Australian on the FTR-Honda, which suffered to the KTMs on the straight, produced some scintillating moves on the brakes early on to climb as high as second but the hot pace took its toll. He still ended the race as the top Honda-powered runner though with Alexis Masbou the next of them in eighth ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin, winning a nine-rider dice for the eight points on offer.
Danny Webb was also in that group and fought his way to fourteenth, earning him two world championship points, while John McPhee was twelve seconds further back in nineteenth.