Spanish rider Alex Rins emerged the winner of one of the tightest Moto3 GPs of the 2013 season on Sunday at the Phillip island circuit in Australia crossing the line three thousandths of a second in front of Maverick Vinales. Red Bull KTM Ajo factory rider and championship leader Luis Salom was third to make it yet another all KTM, all Spanish podium.
Rins has now trimmed Salom’s lead in the championship down to just five points with two rounds remaining. The competition remains on a knife edge as teams head for the Motegi circuit in Japan next weekend. All indications are that the finale will be a massive battle between the three leaders at home in Valencia, Spain. Rins has now won six races this year but Salom has taken seven and it seems like only tactics and race craft separate them. Vinales also remains in the mix at third in the points.
Salom started on pole and the race quickly developed into a tightly packed group of eight riders, the front four all on KTM Moto3 machines. Slowly but surely they distanced themselves from the rest of the field and at the flag, the lead group had a 15-seconds edge.
Right from the opening stages the championship leaders and usual suspects controlled the race from the front while invaders like Australian Jack Miller, who next year rides for Red Bull KTM Ajo was also in the mix and looking dangerous.
Going into the second last lap, Salom was sitting close behind Vinales and Rins and it was clear that he was playing his usual stalking game that has won him a lot of races this year. Well known for his last lap tactics and sitting in a good second place, Salom was eventually foiled after a close encounter with Germany rider Jonas Folger on the lead Kalex-KTM in the final stages. He eventually had to settle for third place.
Salom: “The tactics were difficult today. There was lots of wind and I had a small incident in the slow corner. But its is really good to be on the podium.”
Salom’s two Red Bull KTM Ajo Factory teammates Fahmi Khairuddin of Malaysia and Arthur Sissis of Australia finished eleventh and sixteenth respectively.
Next Race; Moto3 GP of Japan at Motegi on October 27, 2013
Moto3 GP of Australia round 15 of 17
1, Alex Rins, Spain, KTM, 37:40.375
2, Maverick Vinales, Spain, KTM, 37:40.378
3, Luis Salom, Spain, KTM, 37:40.553
4, Alex Marquez, Spain, KTM, 37:40.877
5, Jack Miller, Australia, Honda, 37:40.976
6, Jonas Folger, Germany Kalex-KTM, 37:41.452
7, Efram Vazquez, Spain, Mahindra, 37:41.479
8, Nicola Antoneli, Italy, Honda, 37:42.624
9, Niklas Ajo, Finland, KTM, 37:55.449
10, Alexi Masbou, France, Honda, 37:56.335
11. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Malaysia, KTM, 37:56.349
12, Jakub Kornfeil, Czech Republc, Kalex-KTM, 37:56.480
16, Arthur Sissis, Australia, KTM, 37:57.040
18, Livio Loi, Belgium, Kalex-KTM, 37:57.728
19, Anna Carasco, Spain, KTM, 37:59.417
20, Jasper Iwema, Netherlands, Kalex-KTM, 38:16.757
21, Eric Granado, Brazil, Kalex-KTM, 38:23.559
22, Luca Gruenwald, Germany, Kalex-KTM, 38:23.568
23, Toni Finsterbusch, Grmany, Kalex-KTM, 38:23.585
Championship points after 15 of 17 rounds
1, Salom, 300
2, Rins, 295
3, Vinales, 278
4, Marquez, 175
5, Folger 147
6, Oliveira, 131
7, Miller 100
10, Khairuddin, 65
12, Sissis, 59
Image courtesy Gold and Goose/ KTM