Moto2 rider Luis Salom died after crashing during practice for the Catalunya Grand Prix on Friday. The 24-year-old Spanish motorcyclist fell at the high-speed turn 12 of Barcelona’s Circuit. The turn is not used in Formula One, where cars have to go through a chicane to slow down before entering the front straight. Officials said that F1 layout would be use for all the bike races this weekend. The track configuration was tested by MotoGP riders two years ago but decided not to use it. Due to this layout change, a new schedule was put in place. A security camera in the track showed that Salom was not able to make the turn. His bike slid straight across the track and crashed into the safety barrier at high speed. It is still not clear if Salom also collided with his bike before hitting the barrier.
Salom stayed virtually motionless on the ground as track stewards rushed to him. Two ambulances and medical cars quickly arrived and the doctors spent several minutes treating him. Media reports say that Salom's mother was at the track when the incident took place. A medical helicopter was deployed, but Salom was taken to hospital by ambulance instead. Giancarlo Di Fiippo, a medical director for the International Motorcycling Federation said that he Salom underwent surgery. Still, despite the best efforts of the trauma team, he passed away.
Salom made his debut as a world champion in 2009 as a wildcard at the Spanish Grand Prix and claimed his first career victory in Indianapolis in 2012. He continued in the lightweight category when it became Moto3 in 2012. He had nine wins and graced 22 podiums in Moto3 and finished second in the 2012 and 2013 championships.
British MotoGP rider Scott Redding wrote on Twitter: "My love and heart is with Luis Salom and his family. We lost another great rider."
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons