Maverick Vinales claimed a dramatic win in the French Grand Prix after two errors on the final lap saw victory slip through Valentino Rossi’s fingers. The Italian looked to have overcome the challenge of his younger teammate before sliding wide halfway around the last lap, letting Vinales through into the lead, before crashing out altogether four corners from home.
With over 100,000 French fans already creating a sensational atmosphere, Johann Zarco triggered deafening cheers by grabbing the lead into the Dunlop chicane on lap one. Hopes of a fairy-tale home victory looked to be fading when Vinales regained the advantage on lap seven but Johann continued to hold his own in a leading group also containing Rossi and Marc Marquez.
Four would become three with eleven laps remaining as Marquez lost the front end of his Honda at turn one, causing his second retirement in the first five races. As a result, Yamaha looked on course for a podium lockout but Rossi had no intentions of finishing at the back of the group, overtaking Zarco for second on lap 22.
The drama really began with four laps to go as Rossi, who had been setting lap records in his pursuit of Vinales, grabbed the lead for the first time at Dunlop. Maverick refused to accept defeat though and at Garage Vert on the last lap, the pressure told as Rossi slid wide to allow him back through. Desperate to repair the damage, Rossi overstepped the limit at turn eleven and crashed out of second spot, giving Vinales a clear run to the finish.
With Rossi unable to re-join, Zarco inherited a hugely popular second while Dani Pedrosa stormed through from thirteenth on the grid to finish third on the sole remaining Repsol Honda. Andrea Dovizioso saw off Cal Crutchlow for fourth while Jorge Lorenzo was another rider to make huge progress from a lowly grid position, rising from sixteenth to sixth.
Jonas Folger took seventh on a terrific day for Tech 3 with Jack Miller, Loris Baz and Andrea Iannone completing the top ten.
2017 HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France: Race Result
|1||25. Maverick Vinales||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||43:29.793||25|
|2||5. Johann Zarco||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+3.134||20|
|3||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+7.717||16|
|4||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||+11.223||13|
|5||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||LCR Honda||+13.519||11|
|6||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati||Ducati Team||+24.002||10|
|7||94. Jonas Folger||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+25.733||9|
|8||43. Jack Miller||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+32.603||8|
|9||76. Loris Baz||Ducati||Reale Avintia Racing||+45.784||7|
|10||29. Andrea Iannone||Suzuki||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||+48.332||6|
|11||53. Tito Rabat||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+50.036||5|
|12||44. Pol Espargaro||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+52.661||4|
|13||38. Bradley Smith||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+53.179||3|
|14||22. Sam Lowes||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+55.432||2|
|15||50. Sylvain Guintoli||Suzuki||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||+1:06.878||1|
|NC||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+1 Lap|
|NC||41. Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+5 Laps|
|NC||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+11 Laps|
|NC||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||OCTO Pramac Racing||+11 Laps|
|NC||45. Scott Redding||Ducati||OCTO Pramac Racing||+21 Laps|
|NC||17. Karel Abraham||Ducati||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||+23 Laps|
|NC||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Reale Avintia Racing||+25 Laps|
|NC||19. Alvaro Bautista||Ducati||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||+28 Laps|