RIP Luis Salom

The MotoGP paddock mourns the loss of Moto2 racer Salom

A tragic incident occurred to Moto2 rider Luis Salom during the second free practice of the Catalunya GP at Montmelò. The 24-year-old Spaniard crashed at Turn 12, a corner that a Moto2 bike takes in third gear at approximately 100 mph.

According to the reconstruction of the incident—that was not shown on television—the bike went straight into the air fences instead of turning and the rider hit the bike that had bounced back off the fence into his path.

The session was red flagged, two medical cars and then two ambulances were immediately on scene to treat the rider and the medical helicopter was also deployed to assist in his treatment. Due to the severity of his condition, he was transferred to the Hospital General de Catalunya. On arrival, he underwent surgery, but despite the best efforts of the trauma team, he passed away at 4:55 p.m. local time.

The first rider to comment on the tragic incident was Valentino Rossi, who said, “It’s a strange incident, I haven’t seen it, but it makes me think that there was a bike failure because the machine went straight.” On the spot, immediately before the turn, there is only asphalt, meeting the standards required by Formula 1, so there was no possibility of deceleration. “There is not a huge space,” he added. “But if you turn, the angle increases. The problem was that the bike went straight.”

The riders gathered at 5:30 pm for the traditional meeting of the riders’ safety commission. The riders went to the spot of the incident and proposed to make a chicane to reduce speed, adopting the same layout as F1 uses at Montmelò. The proposal was accepted and the new configuration will be in force from tomorrow.

The MotoGP paddock is silent, and was brought together because of Salom who was a rider that was known by everybody for his friendly attitude and for being the most religious rider on the grid. He used to pray on the starting grid and he had a Virgin Mary tattooed on his back.

This morning he had tweeted: “Looking forward to ride @circuitcat_es. This circuit is spectacular! #CatalanGP #motogp

The only consolation is that he passed away doing what he loved most.

Luis Salom made his World Championship debut at Jerez in 2009 in the 125cc category. He finished on the podium in 25 races, including nine victories in the Moto3 World Championship. He was a promising rider in Moto3: he finished second in that championship in 2012 and a year later was third overall after battling with Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins down to the final round in Valencia. Since his move to Moto2, he has scored three podium finishes including a second at the opening round of 2016 in Qatar.