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Salom pips Viñales to dramatic Assen win

Salom pips Viñales to dramatic Assen win

Luis Salom has increased his Moto3™ championship lead by winning Saturday’s Iveco TT Assen. His advantage increases to ten points over Maverick Viñales, who lost the top spot by running wide in the final moments of the race. Alex Rins completed the podium after leading for many of the 22 laps.

Friday had seen Miguel Oliveira become the first ever Portuguese rider to clinch pole position in any class, also picking up the first Moto3 pole for Mahindra Racing. He would finish the race fourth and involved in a titanic five-rider battle for the lead, with Salom picking up his third consecutive win and fourth of 2013.

Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) started fourth, having lost provisional pole position after running off-track in qualifying. He took second in the early stages of the race before dropping back to fourth position and holding station. His late-race attack – fast becoming a typical strategy of the Mallorcan – would begin in earnest three laps from home, pulling an impressive move on Rins for second.

It looked as though Viñales had the race won thanks to the fight taking place behind, but the Team Calvo rider’s wide line on the exit of Ramshoek was just the invitation Salom needed on the last lap. They would cross the finish line just a tenth of a second apart, with Alex Marquez dropping to fifth as Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Rins completed the podium.

Rins headed the field for the majority of the race and by Lap 10 had pulled out a lead of 1.3 seconds, but this was quickly decreased as Salom in particular upped the pace of the chasing group. 19 seconds behind the top five, Jonas Folger was sixth for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, with Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG and fastest in the Warm-Up session) a further eight seconds in arrears.

Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno) rounded out the top ten, while both Juanfran Guevara (CIP Moto3) and Danny Webb (Ambrogio Racing) were injured in crashes; the Spaniard was taken to Assen hospital for a CT scan following a first-corner accident, whereas the Englishman fractured his right wrist and was attended to in the Clinica Mobile.

Salom’s feat marks only the second time a rider has won three consecutive races in the Moto3™ class. Coincidentally, such a hat-trick was first achieved at Assen last year, when Viñales took victory. The championship continues at the Sachsenring for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland in two weeks’ time.

Moto3, 2013, IVECO TT ASSEN, RAC

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