New to motogp.com?Register here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Viñales snatches stunning maiden win from Terol in Le Mans

Viñales snatches stunning maiden win from Terol in Le Mans

Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) claimed his first victory in the 125cc class in just his fourth GP by beating Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar) on the final lap at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in a thrilling race-long battle. Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) was third.

Under ominous black clouds and in very cool conditions, the race was run without the predicted rain. Rookie Viñales, who achieved his best qualifying result of his rookie campaign with third place on the front row, pressurised the Championship leader from the start and was the only rider able to match his pace throughout the race.

The 16 year-old had finished fourth in Portugal, passing Terol – who appeared to allow the youngster to do so – mid-way through the race. Mind games between the front two were deployed as Viñales then returned the favour to allow the Spaniard back through. A difference of 96 race starts separated the pair, with the teenager only competing in his fourth race, compared to Terol making his 100th GP start. The leading duo pulled a large advantage of six seconds over the next group which was led by Vázquez. Terol regained control of the lead of the race with four laps to go but Viñales had other ideas on the final lap of the race he was able to get the better of the pole sitter and cross the line just five-hundredths of a second in front of the Bankia Aspar rider.

After collecting 20 points, Terol still has a massive lead in the Championship standings, with a 35-point advantage over Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany). Vázquez, fourth in Qatar and with two podiums to his name in the 125cc class before the start of this season, took the final spot on the rostrum and his first podium of the season after he had been involved in a six-rider fight for the podium. Vázquez made it an all-Spanish rostrum and the top four places at this race in Le Mans were all Spanish, with Terol’s Bankia Aspar team-mate Héctor Faubel finishing in fourth position to secure his best result of the year after several crashes in the previous races.

Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) flying the flag for his home fans, made a poor start which dropped him down the order, but the Frenchman climbed his way back up the order and narrowly missed out on achieving his third successive rostrum, eventually claiming fifth. Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) was sixth after being involved in the group of riders contending for third place. After a poor start also for Cortese, the German rider fought his way back into contention but had to settle for seventh place, but remains in second in the Championship. Team-mate to Viñales, Sergio Gadea, finished in eighth.

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) finished ninth after starting outside of the top ten and it was Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) who secured the final place in the top ten. Alexis Masbou – substituting for the injured Sarath Kumar on the WTR-Ten10 Racing team for this race – produced a notable performance by finishing 15th and scoring the last point on offer.

After a fraught qualifying session for Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing), his luck did not change on Sunday as he retired in the latter stages of the race, on exactly the same lap his team-mate Marcel Schrötter (Mahindra Racing) had similar problems. The leading British rider was Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) who finished 17th with Taylor Mackenzie (Phonica Racing) in 22nd. Harry Stafford (Ongetta-Centro Seta) failed to finish the race after retiring when he was in 24th place.

Niklas Ajo (TT Motion Events Racing) was the first retiree of the race after a nasty looking crash, in which the Finn fortunately walked away from uninjured.

Tags:
125cc, 2011, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, RAC

Other updates you may be interested in ›