The Red Bull Indianapolis Moto3 Grand Prix was a celebration for KTM with Luis Salom of RW Racing GP team powering his KALEX-KTM into first place, Sandro Cortese of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in second and Jonas Folger third on the Mapfre Aspar KALEX-KTM.
Luis Salom, who took his first win of the season but not his first podium was clearly delighted to come out on top after a race that was marred by a number of dramatic crashes. “It's incredible to win,” Salom said. “I had many problems with the tires in the last laps but I managed to bring it home and take the win.”
Sandro Cortese of Germany, who started on pole, his fifth after 10 rounds in the current season (!), now has a 29-point lead in the championship after a race that was marked by a number of crashes.
It was also an outstanding race for Cortese’s countryman Jonas Folger who was having his first ride on the Mapfre Aspar Kalex-KTM and he said later his third place was 'like winning'. “The KALEX-KTM was working great and I am happy we found good settings for the race,” he said. Folger was brought into the Aspar Team to replace Spaniard Alberto Moncayo during the summer break in the season.
It was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent, Salom and Cortese who made the best start but as they began to consolidate as the lead group they were unsettled by a multiple crash that also saw the end of the race for KTM rider Niklas Ajo. Meanwhile Malaysian KTM rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who had got off well from the second row, was mixing it with the leaders and trying to make the break when several other crashes occurred.
Salom’s teammate Brad Binder retired with technical problems while Cortese and Salom slipped past Khairuddin and began to chase down title contender Maverick Viñales of Spain. The three riders then settled down to deliver a typical cliff hanger Moto3 finish with Cortese, Viñales and Salom jockeying for position while exchanging paintwork on their fairings.
While it is usually the wily and tenacious Cortese who comes out on top from the last lap dogfights, on Sunday it was Salom who prevailed – but not before Viñales delivered some drama and slid off the track in the final corner, sacrificing not only the podium place but also valuable points to Cortese!
Cortese paid tribute to Viñales after the race saying: “I am sorry for Maverick. No-one deserves to crash after such a battle. I think everyone was riding over the limit and I almost lost the front four times. Of course I am happy to be in second even though I did expect to win today because I was going very strongly. But I think these 20 points are probably worth more than the win.” In the end what was disastrous for Viñales proved to be a gift for Folger who slipped into third and onto the podium. It was also a very solid weekend for Khairuddin who was mixing it with the leaders and eventually finished sixth.
Next Race: GP of Czech Republic in Brno – August 24-26
Results Moto3 Indianapolis
1. Luis Salom (E), KALEX-KTM, 42:14.300 min
2. Sandro Cortese (D), KTM, +0.056 sec
3. Jonas Folger (D), KALEX-KTM, +2.940
4. Miguel Oliveira (P), Suter Honda, +3.067
5. Romano Fenati (I), FTR Honda, +3.664
6. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MAL), KTM, +7.663
7. Alex Rins (E), Suter Honda, +7.697
8. Jakub Kornfeil (CZ), FTR Honda, +11.203
9. Alberto Moncayo (E), FTR Honda, +11.242
10. Alexis Masbou (F), Honda, +13.163
11. Arthur Sissis (AUS), KTM, +23.362
12. Danny Kent (GB), KTM, +24.364
DNF Brad Binder (RSA), KALEX-KTM
Disqualified Niklas Ajo (FIN), KTM
Standings Moto3 after 11 of 17 races
1. Cortese, 184 points
2. Viñales, 155
3. Salom, 129
4. Fenati, 96
5. Masbou, 81
6. Khairuddin, 76
9. Kent, 57
13. Hector Faubel (E), KALEX-KTM, 44
15. Sissis, 43
17. Folger, 21
19. Ajo, 21
28. Binder, 5
Manufacturers Standings Moto3 after 11 of 17 races
1. FTR Honda, 217 points
2. KTM, 185
3. KALEX-KTM, 158
KTM podium Moto3 Indianapolis: (from left) Sandro Cortese, Luis Salom and Jonas Folger
Salom (#39) wins out in fight for victory against Cortese (#11)
Folger on the podium in first ride for new team