Excellent second place for Salom in treacherous conditions at Phillip Island
With an excellent second place in the Australian Grand Prix, Luis Salom again demonstrated he belongs to the top of the 125cc. After a cautious start due to the half wet track at Phillip Island, the Spanish rider from the Dutch team RW Racing GP steadily moved to the podium positions. He got there in already the eighth lap after a fierce battle with Johann Zarco and Hector Faubel.
Faubel had to let the fight for the podium go, but Salom and Zarco went on. Sandro Cortese made good use of this game by slamming a gap of thirteen seconds that was impossible to overcome for the others. From the seventeenth lap on, in which Salom grabbed second position, he didn’t let it slip out of his hands anymore.
“I knew it was possible, I knew I had the speed for this result”, said a happy Luis Salom. “It didn’t pay out in practice and qualifying, which was a bit unfortunate, but no reason to despair. With the changing conditions at Phillip Island, anything is possible.”
On the grid these changing conditions (rain, quick-drying track with still more rain threat) led to a lot of chaos. RW Racing GP had to change tires twice: first from slicks to rain tires and when the start was postponed because of rain back to slicks at the very last moment. “It was clear that the track dried up quickly in the wind. It was a gamble, but a good one”, said Salom. “I did not take any chances and decided to just to see what was going to happen. That’s why I rode very cautious the first few laps.” As soon as he found his confidence and rhythm Salom opened the throttle and rode to the head of the race with ease.
In the fifteenth round, when raindrops started to fall again, Johann Zarco decided to pull out of the battle for strategic reasons. Zarco is second in the championship, did not want to take any risks and settled for third. Salom took his chances for second with both hands. “I was set on the second place. It began to rain harder, so I hoped they would red flag the race. From that moment I was mainly concerned with what was happening behind me and defending second place. Vazquez began to interfere and then the speed goes up again. I did not want a last lap battle with those two.”
That last lap came earlier than expected: in the penultimate lap the race was red flagged because of the rain now pouring from the sky. That the circumstances were almost identical to those in Assen, when Salom was also second, was just coincidence according to Salom. “I would have been on the podium in the dry as well”, he says confidently. “Phillip Island suits me well. Sepang, where we ride next weekend, is also one of my favourite tracks. There I will just try again.”
With his second place Salom rose to eighth place in the championship. The seventh place with two races to go seems out of reach, since the difference is 33 points. There is hardly any threat from behind, since Sergio Gadea is out for the remaining races and Alberto Moncayo is forty points behind.
Source: RW Racing GP