MOTORSPORT

Causes of Moto2 accident that killed Luis Salom still no clearer

The telemetry from the Spanish rider’s bike suggests he was traveling faster than usual, but gives no clue as to the reason for the fatal crash

The subdued podium after the Moto3 race in Montmeló.
The subdued podium after the Moto3 race in Montmeló.Manu Fernandez / AP

The exact causes of the horrific accident that took the life of Spanish Moto2 rider Luis Salom on Friday are yet to be established, but details of the incident, which took place during a free practice session at the Montmeló circuit ahead of Sunday’s Catalunya Grand Prix, emerged over the weekend.

The 24-year-old’s SAG Racing Team has analyzed the telemetry from the rider’s bike when he arrived at turn 12, where the accident happened. Salom was traveling at a much higher speed than normal for that part of the circuit, which is usually taken at 150km/h.

What’s more, team coordinator Edu Perales told EL PAÍS that Salom braked very hard, “around eight pressure bars more than usual, which caused an immediate reaction on the front fork,” just before he lost control, fell to the ground and slid into the airbags on the edge of the circuit, followed by his bike. Salom appears to have suffered massive internal injuries from the impact of his bike after it rebounded off the air fence. He was treated at the circuit by medical crews before being taken by ambulance to hospital, where he died 90 minutes after the crash.

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While there are a lot of unknown factors still to be cleared up, what is clear is that the death of Salom was not just a case of bad luck. “We still don’t know what happened,” explained Carmelo Ezpeleta, the CEO of Dorna Sports, which organizes the MotoGP championships. “The line he took is strange. We were in the area of the accident, there’s the tire marks and you can clearly see he wasn’t on the line; he wasn’t taking the corner. Something happened, and that is why we want to take a good look at the data from the bike. According to Edu Perales, his times were two-tenths down on the previous sector.”

Something happened, and that is why we want to take a good look at the data from the bike Dorna Sport CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta

The telemetry does not explain a mechanical fault, and the team has not admitted there being any other problem, but the fact that he arrived at the corner so fast means that there must be another explanation.

Following the wishes of Salom’s family, the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 races all went ahead at the weekend as planned. The usual champagne celebrations on the podium did not take place, however, and riders wore t-shirts with the slogan “Always in our hearts” as a tribute to the 24-year-old Mallorca native.

English version by Simon Hunter.