Maverick Viñales returns to the podium at Assen, Luis Salom takes 15th
Despite the weather forecast predicting the opposite, the rain respected the Moto2 class and all previous sessions this weekend had been held in the dry. However, this morning when all riders lined up on the grid of the Assen circuit, ready for race 8 of the season, everyone got surprised by a heavy downpour.
As a result, race direction delayed the start and all teams returned to the garages to adjust the bikes to their wet settings. With the track completely wet, the riders lines up again on the grid, with Maverick Viñales occupying eights place and his teammate in the Páginas Amarillas HP 40 team, Luis Salom, in fifteenth position.
After a good start, Maverick completed the first of a total of 24 laps in fifth position, while Luis found himself in sixteenth place having lost a couple of positions after touching with another rider.
Both Páginas Amarillas HP 40 riders, who had not yet competed in these conditions in Moto2, slowly but surely gained confidence and improved lap by lap, and on lap 12, Viñales could position himself in third place while Salom had moved up into seventh.
Luis had the pace to close the gap to the leading group and shortly after he moved into third place with Maverick ahead of him in second. With five laps to go, unfortunately bad luck caught up again with Salom and he crashed out of third place when he hit a damp spot on the track.
He was able to restart his Kalex and to rejoin the race. On the last lap, Viñales prepared to battle with West, who was leading the race, for the victory. But his front wheel locked up and he almost crashed.
Maverick decided to not push his luck any further and to bring the second position safely over the line. With this second place, Viñales achieved the third podium of the season and shortened the gap to the championship leader by 12 points.
Salom finished in fifteenth place in the end and added one point to his total.
Maverick Viñales – 2nd place
“At the beginning I was very cautious. On the warm-up lap a rider crashed right in front of me and I decided to start the race slowly. I’d never ridden in the wet before on this bike and slowly I started to feel more comfortable. Every time I went a bit faster and I caught up to the leading group. I enjoyed this race because this bike handles well in the wet. Compared to the Moto3 you can correct what the Kalex does. It went very well. On the last lap I had to try something but West was very fast. I got close to crashing and I decided that a second place today would be a good result.”
Luis Salom – 15th place
“This weekend has been difficult because my finger caused me a lot of grief. I suffered a lot of pain in my whole arm during the practice sessions. This morning during warm-up it hurt a lot too and the doctor decide to inject me before the race. During the start I touched with another rider and I lost a couple of positions. Step by step I managed to overtake riders in front of me and regain positions until I reached the leading group, but in one corner I made a small mistake and had to go onto a piece of track that was a bit damp, so I crashed. It’s a shame but these things happen in racing. I’d like to thank the team because they did a great job this weekend and helped me a lot.”
Source; Pons Racing