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By Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Viñales: "Zarco 0.3, Zarco 0.3…I couldn’t believe it!"

Yamaha rider back with a bang to take the win in the French GP

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) went into the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France off the back of two more difficult races - a crash and a sixth - but the preseason title favourite was back with a bang at Le Mans to take the 500th win for Yamaha after fending off teammate Valentino Rossi.

Starting from pole, hunting down Zarco and then locked head-to-head with the 'Doctor', Viñales was unaware of the drama behind him as his teammate crashed out on the last lap - and still pushed to the max all the way to the line for his impressive third win of he year, and the Championship lead.

Maverick Viñales, P1: “On the first lap Johann was quite incredible, I was thinking ‘ok…now his rear tyre is going to drop’, but it didn’t! He was difficult to overtake, finally I got the chance and I tried to pull a gap but it was Zarco 0.3, Zarco 0.3…I couldn’t believe it. Then I saw it was Valentino and he wanted to catch me – he did, and he overtook me. Sector 1 and 2 I was right behind him, he made a small mistake and I got past. I knew I was strong in Sector 3…it’s been a long time for the race coming down to the last lap. I was closing all the open points, I didn’t know he crashed – I risked a lot before I was pushing so much. On the last lap I was waiting for the touch – I know Valentino! But I’m pleased to be leading again and recover after two bad races. Mugello will be very difficult because Valentino will be really strong there, but it’s good for my riding style and good for the Yamaha…although I don’t want to say too much about that because we thought that in Jerez!”

Viñales: "I gave everything on the last lap!"