By Lisa Lewis
Luis Salom took the first win of the season under the Qatar floodlights for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in the opening round of the Moto3 championship.
Salom scored his second career win after pulling out a 0.417 second gap on the final lap, which was enough not to be caught by the rest of the chasing pack.
The 2012 championship runner-up started from pole, the first of his career, but quickly found himself in a race long battle with Alex Rins, Maverick Vinales, Jonas Folger and later Alex Marquez, who caught the pack by midway point.
Maverick Vinales was riding with painkillers after his pre-season crash for Team Calvo. Last year's race winner found the pain subsided as the race progressed and managed to push ahead in the photo finish for second.
Estrella Galicia rider Alex Rins made an early attempt to break away but had to settle for third behind Vinales on the line. Last season's top rookie was followed by his team-mate Alex Marquez who breifly hit the front during the scrap and crossed the line in fourth.
Jonas Folger fought back from being dropped off the pack in the closing laps to finish in fifth for the Mapfre Aspar team on the Kalex KTM.
Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin recovered from his lacklustre pre-season and qualifying to battle through the pack late on for sixth.
Miguel Oliveira won his race long tussle for position with Arthur Sissis. The Mahindra rider, who had given the team their best ever qualifying performance, finished seventh with Sissis in eighth, the last of the factory Red Bull machines.
Oliveira was also the first non-KTM rider. The only other non-KTM inside the top ten was his Mahindra team-mate Efren Vazquez who, in tenth.
Niklas Ajo was ninth for the Avant Tecno team.