MotoGP: a flawless weekend for Viñales at Le Mans

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) produced a grand-slam performance at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France, round five of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship. The Spaniard added pole position and fastest race lap to his third win of the season. Second and third were local star Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). 


MotoGP: next stop Le Mans, France

Round five of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, and the second to take place on European soil, is this weekend’s HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France at Le Mans-Bugatti. 


A winning start for Viñales at Yamaha

Spain’s Maverick Viñales celebrated his debut appearance for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP by claiming the first MotoGPTM pole start of his career. He followed that up by winning the Grand Prix of Qatar in torrential rain, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).

As in 2009, heavy rain at Losail International Circuit forced the organisers to cancel the weekend’s qualifying session, which meant the grid order for the 2017 world championship opener was decided by free practice times. This put Viñales on pole, ahead of Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).

The wet weather caused the start of the night-time clash to be delayed by 45 minutes, while the race itself was shortened from 22 to 20 laps.

Iannone got away to a lightning start, but it was Frenchman Johann Zarco who caused the first surprise of the season by emerging in front on his Yamaha equipped with the soft rear Michelin Power Slick. The two-time Moto2 champion held firm for five laps before a fall at Turn 2 handed control to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who had made the same choice of rear tyre.

At the halfway point, Dovizioso was tailed by Marquez who had swapped his hard front tyre for the medium compound at the last moment. Iannone had a footing on the podium when he fell (as in 2016), allowing the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair to home in on the leaders.

On Lap 11, Viñales (medium Michelin Power Slicks front and rear) succeeded in passing Marquez to secure second spot before closing the gap to Dovizioso. Viñales squeezed past into first place on Lap 13 but Dovizioso reversed the situation next time round, and the pair traded the lead seven times in all!

At the age of 22, Viñales went on to secure the second MotoGP victory of his career, chased over the line by Dovizioso who came second in Qatar for the second year running! Rossi ended up third, ahead of Repsol Honda Team’s Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

The next round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship will take teams to Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina, on April 7-9.


Ogier claims fifth Portugal victory

A fifth Rally de Portugal victory for Sébastien Ogier has taken the Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin star’s personal tally to 40 world class wins and level with Markku Alèn as the event’s most successful driver. The Frenchman has also established a new record for the highest number of WRC points scored at this level. He was joined on Sunday’s podium by Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin rivals Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

FIA Formula E

Paris ePrix: Buemi triumphs in French capital

Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) followed up his victory in Monaco last week with another at Saturday’s Paris ePrix, ahead of Lopez and Heidfeld. A mistake by rival Lucas di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport) helped him to comfort his cushion at the top of the provisional Drivers’ standings.

FIA Formula E

Monaco ePrix: Buemi beats di Grassi in the Principality

Pole-winner Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) led from lights-out to the flag in Monaco to claim his fourth ePrix win of the 2016/2017 season. Lucas di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport) and Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra Racing) were second and third.


Toyota/Michelin claims Spa 1-2

Toyota Gazoo Racing came first and second at the 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with its N°8 (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) and N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi) Michelin-equipped TS050 Hybrids. There was one-two glory, too, for Ferrari/Michelin with its N°71 and N°51 488 GTEs in LM GTE Pro.

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