Back

Vinales wins last lap thriller at Le Mans

Maverick Vinales has won the French Grand Prix in breathtaking fashion, after Valentino Rossi crashed on the final lap to hand victory to his Yamaha team-mate.

Vinales started the race at the front of the grid, with Rossi starting alongside him - but a stunning start from Johann Zarco saw the Frenchman roar into the lead after the first lap of his home Grand Prix.

While Zarco held the lead for the early stages of the race, his choice of soft tyres meant that the Yamaha duo of Vinales and Rossi were biding their time behind him as his tyres gradually wore down. 

On Lap 6, Vinales saw his opportunity and struck, passing Zarco to take control of the race - while Rossi narrowly trailed and began to set his sights on his first race win of the season.

As the laps ticked on, the front three started to separate themselves from the field - but Marc Marquez emerged on Lap 10 by setting the fastest lap of the race, putting pressure on the race leaders.

However, disaster struck for Marquez with 11 laps remaining - as the reigning World Champion crashed out of the race from fourth, allowing his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa to move up the field.

While Vinales was in control of the race out front, Rossi was struggling to find an answer for Zarco's pace - but his patience eventually paid off with six laps remaining, as "The Doctor" passed the rookie and jumped into second.

As soon as Rossi pushed past Zarco, he clocked back-to-back lap records at the Le Mans circuit - and edged closer and closer to Vinales in the lead, cutting the gap from 0.7s to only 0.2s with four laps remaining.

Then Rossi struck - as a breathtaking move down the inside of Vinales saw the seven-time World Champion lead the race for the first time with three laps remaining.

Rossi remained in control on the penultimate lap to set up a grandstand finish - but an uncharacteristic error saw him go wide on the final lap, which allowed Vinales to take the lead.

Things then went from bad to worse for Rossi, as he pushed his bike to its limit to try to reclaim the lead - but pushed slightly too hard, causing him to slide from his bike and lose valuable World Championship points.

As Rossi slid across the gravel trap, Vinales cruised passed the chequered flag to secure his third race victory of the season - breaking the track record for fastest lap in the process.

Johann Zarco crossed the line in second and secured his first career podium finish at his home race, much to the delight of the fans in attendance.

Dani Pedrosa rounded out the podium by finishing third - after a poor showing in qualifying saw him start the race in 13th.

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso finished close behind Pedrosa in fourth, while LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow finished fifth.

Jorge Lorenzo, Jonas Folger and Australian rider Jack Miller were the next riders to cross the line - while Lloris Baz and Andrea Iannone rounded out the top ten.