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Vinales takes MotoGP victory at Le Mans, Rossi crashes on last lap

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Maverick Viñales moved back into the lead of the MotoGP riders’ championship by winning Sunday’s French Grand Prix in Le Mans as Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi crashed on the final lap.

Viñales took pole on Saturday ahead of Rossi and MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco, who appeared to be in contention for a famous home victory when he charged into the lead on the first lap.

Zarco was powerless to keep Viñales back when the Spaniard made a pass for the lead seven laps on, but the Tech3 rider did well to defend from Rossi and hold on to second place.

Rossi eventually overhauled Zarco with six laps to go before setting off in pursuit of Viñales, who he quickly caught and passed with three to go.

Rossi opened the door for Viñales late on to allow the Spaniard back past, but then saw his push to take back the lead on the final lap end in dramatic fashion when he slid off the track and out of the race.

Viñales crossed the line with a three-second buffer over Zarco in second, allowing him to pull out a 17-point lead in the riders’ championship in the process.

Viñales closest title rival is now Dani Pedrosa, who battled from 13th on the grid to take the final podium position in third place.

Pedrosa led Honda’s charge at the Circuit de la Sarthe after three-time world champion Marc Marquez crashed out, leaving him empty handed.

Andrea Dovizioso finished fourth for Ducati ahead Cal Crutchlow and teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who like Pedrosa had to fight back from a Q1 exit.

Jonas Folger was seventh on the second Tech3 entry ahead of Jack Miller and Loris Baz, while Andrea Iannone rounded out the top 10.

Video highlights from Stage 13 of the Dakar Rally

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Friday’s Stage 13 of the 40th Dakar Rally went from San Juan to Cordoba to set up the concluding stage of the event.

The video highlights of Stage 13 will air on NBCSN on Saturday at 6:30 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Friday:

CARS

Nassar Al-Attiyah strengthened his hold on second with a stage win as defending winner Stephane Peterhansel crashed in the penultimate stage.

BIKES

Toby Price won his second stage of the 2018 Dakar, his ninth overall, while Matthias Walkner retained the lead ahead of the final stage.

TRUCKS

Eduard Nikolaev continued to make a case for his second consecutive Dakar win after an epic battle to capture Stage 13.

QUADS

Jeremias Gonzalez took Stage 13 of the quads, tightening his grip on third overall in the 2018 Dakar Rally.