Moto2 rider Luis Salom died after crashing during practice for the Catalunya Grand Prix on Friday. He was 24.
The death of the Spanish rider was announced at a news conference a few hours after the incident at a fast turn on the Barcelona track.
“He underwent surgery but despite the best efforts of the trauma team, he passed away,” said Giancarlo Di Filippo, a medical director for the International Motorcycling Federation.
Race directors said the weekend races would go on “as agreed with Salom’s family, the riders, teams and the safety commission,” but on an alternate track layout.
The crash happened at Turn 12, a fast right-hander in the final sector of the Barcelona-Catalunya 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 the F1 layout would be used for all three bike races this weekend. MotoGP riders tested the track configuration two years ago but elected not to use it.
Because of the layout change, practice time was extended and a revised schedule was put in place.
MotoGP riders Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone, and Andrea Dovizioso were among the participants in the meeting of the safety commission following the crash.
The official race broadcast did not appear to catch images of the accident, but a security camera at the track showed Salom was not able to make the turn. His bike slid straight across the track and the rider followed behind, crashing into the safety barrier at a high speed. It wasn’t clear if Salom also collided with his bike before hitting the barrier.
“We have to see if something broke on his bike,” veteran MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi said before Salom’s death was announced. “It appeared he went straight.”
Salom stayed on the ground virtually motionless as track stewards rushed to him. Two medical cars and two ambulances quickly arrived and doctors spent several minutes treating him.
A helicopter also landed on the track, but because Salom’s condition was considered life-threatening, he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance so doctors could continue working on him.
MotoGP medical director Angel Charte said Salom was in cardiac arrest when doctors arrived at the scene. He was intubated and submitted to cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 18 minutes.
Treatment continued for 40 minutes during the ambulance transfer, but he deteriorated. At the hospital, doctors performed exploratory surgery, but he was declared dead about 45 minutes after arriving.
Charte said “the ground evacuation procedure, transport to the Hospital General de Catalunya, and the reception at the hospital was of the highest standard.”
Spanish media said Salom’s mother was at the track.
The practice session was red-flagged with about 25 minutes left before being eventually canceled.
Salom, known for his aggressive style, began racing at an early age and quickly made his way through the Spanish ranks in motorcycle racing.
He had been in Moto2 since 2014 and had three podium finishes in 41 races, including a second place in this season’s opener in Qatar. He was 10th in the point standings.
He had nine wins and 22 podiums in Moto3 and finished second in the championship in 2012 and third in 2013.