Maverick Vinales took a shock win in the 125cc French Grand Prix after coming out on top in a straight fight with Nicolas Terol.
The championship leader looked set for another routine victory when he led away from pole position but try as he might, he couldn't shake off the attentions of the 16-year-old rookie. An intriguing battle ensued as both riders seemed content to follow the other, with Terol letting Vinales through on lap twelve.
Vinales wouldn't be outdone and decided to give way for Terol a lap later, as the mind games continued but the younger Spaniard was in front again on lap 16.
With four laps to go, Terol attempted to make a decisive break at the front as he retook the lead but Vinales wouldn't be denied, and stuck on the tail of the Aspar Aprilia as they entered the final lap.
With the 16-year-old making moves to try and distract the leader, Terol decided to take a defensive line into the final right-hander, but that proved to be a costly error as Vinales sweeped through as they moved on the start/finish straight and took his maiden grand prix victory by just 0.048s.
With the leading duo in a class of their own, the chasing pack were immediately cut adrift, with Hector Faubel leading a five man group which included Efren Vazquez, Sandro Cortese, Jonas Folger and Johann Zarco.
Vazquez seemed unable to challenge the second Aspar rider but an attack from behind from Cortese seemed to spark him into life. On lap 19, Vazquez ended Faubel's spirited defence, getting his nose in front at turn one.
Behind them, home favourite Zarco had a third consecutive podium in his sights and made his way past Folger for fifth, which soon became fourth as Faubel slipped further back down the order.
Vazquez had a comfortable advantage and held on for third but Faubel dug deep to force his way back ahead of Zarco to snatch fourth while Folger claimed sixth behind the Frenchman. Sandro Cortese had to settle for seventh, losing further ground to the runaway championship leader Terol, while Sergio Gadea will have also been disappointed to finish eighth.
The experienced Spaniard finished 15 seconds off the lead which of course was held by his teammate on the Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing machine.
Miguel Oliveira was another rookie to impress as he finished a comfortable ninth, with Luis Salom completing the top ten.
As in Portugal, Danny Kent's race went downhill at the very start as he fell down the order, and after initially fighting his way up to 15th, he missed out on the final point by 0.820s to wildcard rider Alexis Masbou. Taylor Mackenzie had a lonely ride to 22nd but nevertheless had a successful return from injury.
Danny Webb also featured in the battle for a points finish but the reliability problems with the updated Mahindra machine continued, and the Briton was forced to retire. Harry Stafford had similar problems on his Aprilia and didn't see the chequered flag either.
Race Result: 26 Laps
|1||Maverick Vinales||Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing||42:00.505||25|
|2||Nicolas Terol||Bankia Aspar Team||+0.048||20|
|4||Hector Faubel||Bankia Aspar Team||+8.298||13|
|6||Jonas Folger||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||+10.236||10|
|7||Sandro Cortese||Intact-Racing Team Germany||+10.667||9|
|8||Sergio Gadea||Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing||+15.642||8|
|9||Miguel Oliveira||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||+22.838||7|
|10||Luis Salom||RW Racing GP||+30.901||6|
|11||Alberto Moncayo||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||+33.796||5|
|12||Simone Grotzkyj||Phonica Racing||+34.413||4|
|13||Louis Rossi||Matteoni Racing||+34.696||3|
|14||Adrian Martin||Bankia Aspar Team||+41.236||2|
|15||Alexis Masbou||WTR-Ten10 Racing||+56.943||1|
|16||Hiroki Ono||Caretta Technology||+57.409|
|17||Danny Kent||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||+57.763|
|20||Luigi Morciano||Team Italia FMI||+1:02.089|
|22||Taylor Mackenzie||Phonica Racing||+1:25.418|
|23||Giulian Pedone||Phonica Racing||+1:42.498|
|24||Francesco Mauriello||WTR-Ten10 Racing||+1:43.885|
|25||Peter Sebestyen||Caretta Technology||+1:44.903|
|26||Alessandro Tonucci||Team Italia FMI||+1:45.356|
|27||Kevin Szalai||Maxiscoot MVT Racing||+1 Lap|
|28||Kevin Thobois||Team RMS||+1 Lap|
|Joan Perello||Matteoni Racing||+4 Laps|
|Danny Webb||Mahindra Racing||+7 Laps|
|Marcel Schrotter||Mahindra Racing||+7 Laps|
|Harry Stafford||Ongetta-Centro-Seta||+11 Laps|
|Niklas Ajo||TT Motion Events Racing||+21 Laps|
Riders Championship (After Round 4: France)
|1||Nico Terol||Bankia Aspar Team||3||95|
|2||Sandro Cortese||Intact-Racing Team Germany||59|
|4||Jonas Folger||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||52|
|8||Hector Faubel||Bankia Aspar Team||23|
|9||Miguel Oliveira||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||22|
|10||Luis Salom||RW Racing GP||22|
|11||Danny Kent||Red Bull Ajo MotorSport||17|
|12||Alberto Moncayo||AndalucÃa Banca Civica||14|
|13||Adrian Martin||Bankia Aspar Team||13|
|15||Simone Grotzkyj||Phonica Racing||12|
|16||Taylor Mackenzie||Phonica Racing||11|
|18||Hiroki Ono||Caretta Technology||8|
|19||Louis Rossi||Matteoni Racing||6|
|21||Marcel Schrotter||Mahindra Racing||3|
|22||Niklas Ajo||TT Motion Events Racing||2|
|23||Alexis Masbou||WTR-Ten10 Racing||1|
|24||Josep Rodriguez||Wild Wolf-Racc-MS Caretta||1|