It was June 3rd, 2016. The second Moto2 Free Practice session had gotten underway, and there were 25 minutes remaining. Luis Salom would enter turn 13 on his Kalex. This would be the last time we would see the talented Spaniard alive.
Luis Salom was a no nonsense rider who was capable of extraordinary things. He would often succumb to the Latin passion running through his veins however, no moment more telling than the last round of the Moto3 World Championship of 2013 in Valencia. Engaged in a three way battle for the championship against Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins, the history books will tell you that due to a fall while attempting to win, Salom finished in third in that years championship. What they won’t tell you he won however, was the hearts of millions of bike fans around the world with his daring style, and win-at-all-costs attitude. Much like with Nicky Hayden though, the thing that shone through about Luis was his smile, and warm personality off the track, which was at odds with his personality once the visor came down. The tribute to Luis on the race day after he passed was genuinely moving, and changes have since been made to turn 13 to ensure this tragedy cannot be repeated.
Our MotoGP team here at Overtake Motorsport have put into words what they thought of Luis, both on and off the track.
Josie Smith- Moto3:
I wasn’t watching religiously before that day but I remember the skill and the passion that oozed from him. His passion may not have always been a positive when things didn’t go his way but his wonderful personality, infectious smile and mischievous nature made him a favourite amongst fans, riders and the rest of the paddock. He was a talent that never had a chance to be fully shown. A fiery Mexican if there ever was one but a sweetheart and a mischief maker to match. We miss you, Luis #Mexicano39.
Jacob Ward- Moto2:
For me, Luis was one of a dwindling breed of riders, a hothead with a massive heart. Sure, he took his bike far beyond the limits a lot of the time in a fit of Latin fire, but when it was right he was almost unbeatable. It was not fun for me to watch him move up to Moto2 with the Pons team and really struggle, compounded with the form of Vinales on the sister garage. Just when it seemed like he had it together in 2016, including standing on the podium in Qatar for the opening race, it seemed like he had finally arrived in the intermediate class. He had proven what an unbelievable rider he was in Moto3, beating a stacked field regularly and gaining many admirers. That day in Montmelo took a great rider from us, but an even better person. He would stop and talk to anyone, including yours truly. He had just come from a dismal qualifying in Silverstone in 2015, where he was 17th, and he still took the time to stop for a chat like I was an old friend. I asked him what he thought he could do to improve on the track, and all he said was ‘gas, my friend’. Ride on Mexicano.
Nat Jarvis- MotoGP:
Luis Salom for me, was the typical definition of “Latin flare”. His passion oozed out of him every time he was on screen, when he fell quiet often you would see a famous Luis “tantrum” but that was the passion inside. A great, great talent, his last podium at Qatar 2016 for the SAG team was incredible and the in the interviews afterward how emotional he was, you could tell motorcycle racing was Luis’ life, but it sadly took his life at Catalunya in 2016. He had a smile that could fill a room, Mexicano will always be remembered and always be missed. In my opinion he should’ve won the 2013 Moto3 title, only to be a innocent victim of Isaac Viñales’ crash at Motegi which hampered his championship charge and ultimately stumbled his momentum.
Rest In Peace Luis Salom.