Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales has asserted himself at the top of the World Championship standings after overcoming a titanic tussle with teammate Valentino Rossi to take his second victory of the season. Rossi however suffered a last lap crash out of second position which has put a real dent in his title quest. Johann Zarco completed an unforgettable home Grand Prix in second with Dani Pedrosa making his way from the middle of the grid to round out the podium.
It was the hometown hero Zarco who took the holeshot ahead of the two factory Yamaha’s of Vinales and Rossi. The Frenchman, who had the crowd on their feat, held his position strongly for the first couple of laps until the rookie was passed by the charging Vinales, leaving the fans with a three way battle for the French Grand Prix.
As the laps ticked down, Vinales started to eek out a small gap on the chasers, Rossi made a bleated pass on the Tech 3 rider with six laps to go, setting the fastest lap of the race and rapidly reeling in his Spanish teammate. Rossi made his move past Vinales with two laps to go and looked as if he was about to escape from the clutches of his teammate, however Vinales was not going down without a fight.
It was Rossi with the small advantage as the two leaders entered the final lap, unbelievably however, the “Doctor” made an uncharacteristic mistake, letting the number 25 through but was still close enough to make a move back with half a lap to go. The Italian closed back in but unfortunately to much as the Italian slid out at turn 11, wrecking his Championship challenge and gifting the race to Vinales.
Vinales cruised across the line, taking his second victory of the season and giving himself a cushion at the top of the World Championship standings.
Circuit hero Zarco held his nerve under the huge pressures of the home crowd to cross the line in an incredible second place. It’s the Frenchman’s first podium of his rookie season and this surly will be an emotional one.
Dani Pedrosa produced what was probably the comeback of the season, making his way from 13th on the grid to finish on the podium in third. Andrea Dovizioso rounded off a frustrating weekend for Ducati, to take a solid fourth ahead of LCR’s Cal Crutchlow who completed the top five.
Jorge Lorenzo gained an impressive six positions to cross the line sixth ahead of Jonas Folger in seventh. Despite his huge crash on Saturday, Jack Miller rallied to finish eighth ahead of another French hero Loris Baz who put on a brilliant display in front of his home fans in ninth. Andrea Iannone completed the top ten in what has been a difficult weekend for the Suzuki team.
Tito Rabat had a better weekend in 11th ahead of the Red Bull KTM duo of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, who are slowly developing the KTM into a competitive bike. Sam Lowes took his first points of the season in 14th ahead of wildcard Sylvain Guintoli, who scored the final point in 15th.
Marc Marquez crashed at turn 3 with 13 laps to go. This has put a huge dent in the Spaniards hope for another World Championship title, however its a long season ahead and the Honda rider will be back to fight another day.
|1||25||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||161.6||43’29.793|
|2||20||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||161.4||+3.134|
|3||16||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||161.1||+7.717|
|4||13||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||160.9||+11.223|
|5||11||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||160.8||+13.519|
|6||10||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||160.1||+24.002|
|7||9||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||160.0||+25.733|
|8||8||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||159.6||+32.603|
|9||7||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||158.8||+45.784|
|10||6||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||158.7||+48.332|
|11||5||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||158.5||+50.036|
|12||4||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||158.4||+52.661|
|13||3||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||158.4||+53.179|
|14||2||22||Sam LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||158.2||+55.432|
|15||1||50||Sylvain GUINTOLI||FRA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||157.6||+1’06.878|
|46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||161.6||1 Lap|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||159.8||5 Laps|
|93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||160.9||11 Laps|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||159.7||11 Laps|
|45||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||149.1||21 Laps|