VIÑALES ‘I DID THE FINAL LAP LIKE IT WAS QUALIFYING’
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