By Neil Morrison
Luis Salom won another hotly contested Moto 3 race after posting a typically devastating last lap performance and holding off a late charge from Alex Rins that increased his championship lead to 26 points.
Salom led home the Spanish quartet of Alex Rins, Alex Marquez and Maverick Viñales to win his sixth race of the season and put real daylight between himself and his nearest challenger in the championship standings.
The top four were covered by 0.849secs at the finish line but it was another measured and controlled performance from the Majorcan whose victory never looked in doubt after he made his way to the front of the pack with two laps remaining.
The fabulous long straights and high-speed swoops of Silverstone proved to be an ideal venue for Moto 3 action as the 73,000 strong British crowd were treated to another four rider battle for both the lead and fifth position.
Apart from a brief appearance at the front by Jonas Folger, the leading four Spaniards were never headed and had built up a substantial gap back to the second group of Oliveira, Miller, Folger and Masbou after six laps, lapping close to a second faster than their pursuers.
As the laps were ticked off all of the leading group enjoyed spells at the front but were either unable or unwilling to make a significant break. Yet it was Salom that always seemed the likely winner, demonstrating his superiority with a spectacular lunge from fourth to first at Brooklands on lap 13. He then made his move at the front with two laps remaining, leaving Rins, Marquez and Viñales chasing lost ground.
His late race surges have become a feature of his newly honed race craft and after scoring victories in Barcelona, Assen and Brno in similar circumstances he stretched the group out, and despite Rins' determined effort around the final complex, prevailed by 0.049secs at the flag.
Marquez beat Viñales to third and the number 25 was once again undone in the closing stages of the race. He found himself in fourth beginning the final lap and despite a desperate lunge inside Marquez at Village, he couldn't hold the position past the Wellington straight. He cut a despondent figure crossing the line in fourth.
His first finish off the podium all season saw him lose further ground to Salom after only beating the championship leader once in the previous seven races. He now sits 26 points behind.
Oliveira led home the chasing pack with Folger, Miller and Masbou all within 0.3secs of each other at the finish line.
There was a frantic battle nine-rider battle for ninth place throughout most of the race.