Vinales Wins in France After Rossi Crashes

The polesitter controlled the middle phase of the race after retaking the lead from Johann Zarco on lap seven, but his advantage never got above one second. He briefly took the lead, but a small mistake during the last lap prevented him from reaching the finish line.

Things then went from bad to worse for Rossi, as he pushed his bike to its limit to try to reclaim the lead - but pushed slightly too hard, causing him to slide from his bike and lose valuable World Championship points.

MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales of Spain celebrates his first position on the podium after wining the French Grand Prix's race, in Le Mans, western France, Sunday, May 21, 2017.

"Incredible. I just gave my best in the last lap", said Vinales. "My team did a really good job and they tried to make a bike to brake really hard and that's where I was winning all the time, so I'm really happy for that".

Teammate Viñales has only been competing as part of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team for five races, but has established an impressive 60 per cent victory rate on the Yamaha, thanks to his wins in Qatar, Argentina and France.

But Vinales was full of fight and when Rossi blundered he grabbed the victory while Zarco celebrated his first top flight podium finish.

A lap after Rossi passed Zarco at the chicane, turns three and four, he replicated his move on Vinales; not as neatly this time however it was wonderful the way he made the Yamaha turn in such a small gap.

Outbraking himself with 16 laps to go, the Italian lost some time, which left him within the grasp of Marquez. Marquez, who had already come off his Honda during qualifying, appeared unharmed and got straight back up.

Vinales now has 85 points after finishing ahead of local hero Johann Zarco with Pedrosa second in the championship on 68.

"Vinales overtook me and it was not easy to stay behind him.then when Rossi passed me, he was quite strong".

But Rossi, who won his last title in 2009, then lost concentration with a poor braking move.

"And the bike was really good so I said, "OK, I try now in second corner".

Rather than accept second place, Rossi's pride kicked in and he preferred to take a risk - ending up with nothing.

The Spanish rider climbed to seventh early in the race passing Ducati Andrea Dovizioso and later passed LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow to take fifth place behind teammate Marc Marquez. Riding on soft tyres at the front and rear, the French rider led the race in the opening laps before the Yamaha riders started to build the pressure on him.

  • Salvatore Jensen