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Viñales becomes first repeat winner of 2013

Viñales becomes first repeat winner of 2013

Maverick Viñales has won Sunday’s Moto3™ Monster Energy Grand Prix de France from pole position, thus becoming the first two-time race victor of the 2013 season. The well-judged ride at Le Mans saw the Team Calvo rider head up an all-Spanish podium from previous race winners Alex Rins and Luis Salom.

Rain had been forecast for the race, but ultimately no drops would fall over the course of the 24 laps. Viñales, who had been injured in a pre-season testing crash at Jerez, had sealed his maiden victory of the campaign at the same track two weeks ago. He enjoyed a clean start this afternoon, but it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who - from a front row start - swept into the lead under braking for Turn 3.

It took Viñales two attempts to make the move stick, but he eventually edged back past Folger on the ninth tour. The German would soon drop to fourth place, behind Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Rins and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom, as he overshot the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane. Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez finished inside the top five for the first time since Qatar, having overtaken front row starter Miguel Oliveira who lost control of his Mahindra Racing bike and crashed at the start of Lap 4. If any lap was a winning one for Viñales, it was the penultimate, as he delivered a scorching fastest lap of the race to extend the leading advantage to just under one second.

There were several touches between bikes and no less than seven riders failed to make the finish. Kiefer Racing’s Florian Alt fell just seconds after Oliveira had departed the race while GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 duo Niccolo Antonelli and Lorenzo Baldassarri, plus wildcard Jules Danilo (Marc VDS Racing Team), made unforced errors. The biggest moment came on Lap 21, as Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin highsided at Chemin aux Boeufs while running seventh, landing across the bows of Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo and duly removing both men from the action.

The Khairuddin-Ajo incident very much shook up the running order. Jakub Kornfeil was sixth for Redox RW Racing GP as San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati and Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder were promoted to seventh and eighth places. In 15th, German Philipp Oettl fended off fellow rookie Livio Loi (Marc VDS) to score his first ever point for Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing. Ambrogio’s Danny Webb did not race, having crashed at Musee corner in qualifying which resulted in a broken foot and mild concussion. He hopes to be fit to return next time out.

The Le Mans podium consisted only of race winners so far in the 2013 Moto3™ campaign. Viñales’ triumph sees him extend his championship lead to 13 points over Salom, with Rins a further 16 in arrears and paying the price for his crash during the Spanish Grand Prix. The season continues in a fortnight’s time with Round 5 and the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello.


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