Precocious talent Viñales comes to the fore

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

With victory in the 125cc Monster Energy Grand Prix de France on Sunday the Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team rider became the youngest ever Spanish rider to win a World Championship GP.

At the age of 16 years and 123 days Maverick Viñales made history on Sunday, when the talented Catalan rider became the youngest ever Spaniard to win a World Championship Grand Prix with his victory at Le Mans.

Taking the Spanish record off Jorge Lorenzo (who held it thanks to his victory at the 2003 Brazil GP), Viñales became the third youngest rider ever in the history of Grand Prix racing to win a race, behind Scott Redding and Marco Melandri. Making Viñales’ achievement all the more incredible was the fact that he was riding in only his fourth World Championship race, in his debut season.

His progression has been rapid this season, with a debut result of ninth in Qatar followed by a crash at Jerez and then fourth at Estoril, where he was beaten to third position by two-thousandths of a second by Johann Zarco.

Viñales rode a fantastic race at Le Mans, battling with Championship leader and vastly more experienced fellow Spaniard Nico Terol throughout the 24-lap contest, before making a last-turn overtake on the final lap to take a remarkable victory.

“I think we put together a very intelligent race and I knew I had to wait until the right moment to push the bike and overtake Nico,” said Viñales after the race. “It was clear on the final lap that I could overtake him, and I wanted to do it in another spot but was unable to. He made an error in the final turn and I took advantage of it to take the victory.”

Viñales continued: “This victory is very important, both for the team and for me, but we now have to continue following the targets we set out at the start of the season, which are to fight for the Rookie of the Year title and keep improving and learning race by race.”

Team Manager Ricard Jové said: “What this young lad has done is no easy thing to achieve. Yes he does have a great bike and an excellent team, but he is also an immense talent. It’s proven that the decision to back ‘Mack’ four years ago was a sound judgement, but we are well aware of where we are and we will keep our feet on the ground.”

“He has a fantastic character and is cool enough to not let this go to his head. He knows he must keep working hard and thinking about the targets we set out at the start of the year; to learn, learn and learn,” he concluded.

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