‘Valentino over­reached him­self’

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Valentino Rossi did some­thing dur­ing Sun­day’s race that’s both very rare for him and that he didn’t need to do – he made a mis­take. And while he put his hands up after the race and ad­mit­ted that it had been a mis­take that caused him to crash out of the race, per­haps the big­gest er­ror was tak­ing the fight to Mav­er­ick Viñales in the first place.

It’s been a slow start to the sea­son for Rossi de­spite lead­ing the cham­pi­onship go­ing into Le Mans, with only a hand­ful of podium fin­ishes and no wins so far, his cham­pi­onship cam­paign has still been miss­ing a trip to the top step of the podium – and the 25 valu­able points that come with it.

How­ever, by tak­ing a risk in the clos­ing cor­ners of Sun­day’s race in an at­tempt to set up a des­per­ate do-or-die move on Viñales into the last two cor­ners of the Le Mans cir­cuit, Rossi over­reached him­self, crash­ing out. It’s a move that may prove to have a crit­i­cal im­pact on the ti­tle come the end of the sea­son.

Tak­ing with it not only an­other podium fin­ish but also the 20 points he could have grabbed for sec­ond, Rossi now drops to third in the cham­pi­onship, 23 points off his team-mate. Given that his ti­tle as­sault has been built on con­sis­tency not out­right speed, this er­ror could prove costly.

‘It’s a move that could have a crit­i­cal im­pact’ SI­MON PAT­TER­SON

From hero to zero on the last lap

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