Maverick Viñales won Sunday’s Moto3™ Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans from pole position, thus becoming the first two-time race victor of the 2013 season. The well-judged ride saw the Team Calvo rider head up an all-Spanish podium from previous race winners Alex Rins and Luis Salom.
Rain had been forecast for the race, but ultimately no drops would fall over the course of the 24 laps. Viñales enjoyed a clean start this afternoon, but it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who – from a front row start – swept into the lead under braking for Turn 3.
It took Viñales two attempts to make the move stick, but he eventually edged back past Folger on the ninth lap. The German would soon drop to fourth place, behind Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Rins and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom, as he overshot the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane. Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez finished inside the top five for the first time since Qatar, having overtaken front row starter Miguel Oliveira who lost control of his Mahindra Racing bike and crashed at the start of Lap 4. If any lap was a winning one for Viñales, it was the penultimate, as he delivered a scorching fastest lap of the race to extend the leading advantage to just under one second.
There were several touches between bikes and no less than seven riders failed to make the finish. Kiefer Racing’s Florian Alt fell just seconds after Oliveira had departed the race while GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 duo Niccolo Antonelli and Lorenzo Baldassarri, plus Marc VDS Racing Team’s wildcard Jules Danilo, made unforced errors. The biggest moment came on Lap 21, as Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin highsided at Chemin aux Boeufs while running seventh, landing across the bows of Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo and duly removing both men from the action.
The Khairuddin-Ajo incident very much shook up the running order. Jakub Kornfeil was sixth for Redox RW Racing GP as San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati and Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder were promoted to seventh and eighth places. In 15th, German Philipp Oettl fended off fellow rookie, Marc VDS’ Livio Loi, to score his first ever point for Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing.
|Moto3™ Race Classification|
|1- Maverick Viñales||SPA||KTM||42:05.448|
|2- Alex Rins||SPA||KTM||+ 1.264|
|3- Luis Salom||SPA||KTM||+ 1.387|