Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

Mav­er­ick Viñales has eased him­self back into the cham­pi­onship lead that he con­ceded to team-mate Valentino Rossi when he crashed out of the Amer­i­can Grand Prix two rounds ago with a stun­ning win at Le Mans. Tak­ing the fight to Rossi and win­ning an im­por­tant vic­tory both on track and in the Yamaha garage.

Tak­ing a steady start to hunt down Jo­hann Zarco and take the lead, he was un­able to stop a late charge from team-mate Rossi in the clos­ing stages of the race. And de­spite

the fran­tic pace and fierce fight­ing that the pair were en­gaged in as they scrapped for the win, Viñales ad­mit­ted after­wards that there was no chance of set­tling for an easy podium.

“There are many op­por­tu­ni­ties on the last lap at Le Mans, and I was plan­ning an at­tack at cor­ner eight, but when I saw him make a mis­take I knew that I could do it be­cause I was re­ally strong in the third sec­tor.

“I took a lot of risks, be­cause I went in with full pres­sure on the brakes and a lot of lean, but the front end had good grip so I went for it.

“In the last lap, I was wait­ing for the touch from him! I knew with two laps to go that I needed to take the vic­tory though, that I had to push the bike over the limit. I rode the last lap like qual­i­fy­ing – I went into turn one, closed my eyes, and hoped it worked. When it did, I did the rest of the fi­nal lap like qual­i­fy­ing – and I think it was the best day I’ve had on the bike.”

How­ever, while Viñales may have painted a tar­get on his own back with team-mate Rossi as they go into home ter­ri­tory for the Ital­ian at Mugello, the Spa­niard says that he’s look­ing for­ward to an­other bat­tle with his team-mate at the scenic cir­cuit.

“It would be nice to have more bat­tles like that, be­cause it’s al­ways good fun – but it’s im­por­tant to take the vic­tory too, and I hope that I can win next time as well! For sure he won’t give up, and he’ll push even more in Mugello, be­cause he can be strong.”

‘I knew I needed to take the vic­tory, that I had to push the bike over the limit’ MAV­ER­ICK VIÑALES

Mav­er­ick re­sists hard-charg­ing Zarco, but it was Valentino who brought the tough­est chal­lenge

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