Round 5 of the MotoGP World Championship wrapped up in Le Mans on Sunday. Yamaha locked out the front row with Isaac Vinales on pole. Alongside him were teammate Valentino Rossi and Tech 3 Yamaha rookie Johann Zarco.
The fast starting Frenchman picked up where he left off in Qatar before he was rudely interrupted. Zarco opted to run the soft tires while the factory team chose the medium tires. Once the two Movistar bikes were past the Frenchman, they dueled with each other.
Meanwhile Dani Pedrosa scythed his way up the order to slot into P5 behind teammate Marc Marquez. That soon became 4th as Marquez binned it. Back at the front the battle between the Yamaha teammates was on!
Zarco in the meantime hung back waiting to pick up the pieces. Sure enough, on the penultimate lap he was rewarded. Rossi made a move on Vinales but ran wide while leading.
Vinales didn’t need a second invitation. In his desperation to catch his younger teammate, Rossi lost the front end of the bike and he was out. A delighted Zarco got promoted to 2nd and Dani Pedrosa was rewarded with 3rd.
Vinales crossed the line unchallenged to take Yamaha’s 500th win in motorcycle racing as well as the championship lead. Pedrosa was another big gainer as he vaulted up to 2nd in the standings.
The next round will be in Mugello in 2 weeks time. Mugello has a mighty long straight which can prove useful in slipstream battles.