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Viñales’ lead to defend in France

Viñales’ lead to defend in France

A pre-season title favourite amongst Moto3™ fans and insiders alike, Maverick Viñales finally hit the front thanks to his victory in Jerez. The Team Calvo rider must now defend from the likes of Luis Salom, Alex Rins and Jonas Folger as the championship rumbles on into Le Mans.

Shortly before the start of the 2013 season, it was at Jerez where Viñales crashed in the final pre-season test session. The accident left the Spaniard minus a fingertip on his right hand, resulting in agony throughout the season-opening race in Qatar. Having now made it three winners from three races for the campaign so far, he leads a KTM one-two-three in the standings but is only four points ahead of Salom.

Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the first victor of the season, whereas Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) won in Texas; however the latter threw away significant points when he lost control of his bike in the Spanish race, falling to 24 points - and therefore almost one race win - behind the new championship leader.

It is Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Folger who is perhaps the only rider capable of challenging on equipment that is not fully KTM, as the German is riding a Kalex-KTM machine. He heads into Round 4 as the fourth-highest rider in the championship, but sits on 40 points and 25 behind the leading Viñales. If trivia is anything to go by, he should finish second this weekend, having racked up individual results of fifth, fourth and third in the trio of Grands Prix to have been staged thus far.

Salom’s teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin will be aiming for his first podium of the year, whilst Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder comes off the back of his best result to date - the South African finished fourth at Jerez. Miguel Oliveira is spearheading the Mahindra Racing project, seventh in the championship, whereas Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo, Redox RW Racing GP’s Jakub Kornfeil and Mahindra’s Efren Vazquez complete the top ten. Incidentally, Kornfeil finished an amazing fifth in Spain, despite having missed all of Friday’s sessions as he completed compulsory examinations.

Two Frenchman will be taking part as wildcards at their home race this weekend, in the form of ACR’s Christophe Arciero on a Suter and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Jules Danilo, who will line up next to regular Livio Loi; incidentally, Loi is still on a high after completing his maiden Grand Prix in a points-paying position of 15th.

The Moto3™ Monster Energy Grand Prix de France takes place at Le Mans on Sunday, with the red lights going out at 11am local time (GMT +2).


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