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Vinales aimed for last-corner overtake before Rossi error

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Vinales aimed for last-corner overtake before Rossi error
By:
May 21, 2017, 1:47 PM

French GP winner Maverick Vinales said he was aiming to line up a last-corner overtake on Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi on the final lap of the race before the Italian's mistake.

Podium: winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, second place Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, third place Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Vinales led much of the Le Mans race after overtaking the satellite Tech 3 bike of early leader Johann Zarco, but was second heading into the final lap of the race.

The Spaniard had been overtaken by a charging Rossi on lap 26 of 28, but managed to keep pace with the seven-time premier class champion, despite a moment that saw him cut the track on the penultimate lap.

He was four tenths off with a lap to go, but got close enough to Rossi to take advantage of the Italian running wide at Garage Vert – and went on to win when Rossi crashed out a few corners later.

Asked whether he had a chance to pass his teammate before Rossi's mistake, Vinales told BT Sport: “Yeah, I think so. I tried my best, braked really late in each braking point until the end. So for sure it was not an easy job.

“When Valentino overtook me he got a bit of gap, and the laptimes were so close for me it was difficult to recover again.

“But I said I had to do a perfect [sector] T1, a perfect T2 and try to fight him in the last corner. I was planning to do it.”

Vinales said he was pushing “200 percent” after Rossi ran wide and slotted in behind him, before the Italian crashed out at Turn 11.

“I saw Valentino make a mistake so I take my opportunity,” Vinales said. “I pushed 200 percent to try to go away and finally here comes the victory.

“So happy because, after two disaster races, comes again the victory, doing the fastest lap [on the final lap], it's so nice.”

Vinales' win puts him back at the top of the riders' standings on 85 points, 17 clear of Dani Pedrosa in second and 23 ahead of Rossi, who slips to third.

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