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Vinales 'closed his eyes' in late Rossi fight in the French GP

Maverick Vinales says he closed his eyes and attacked the last laps of his French Grand Prix fight with Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi like qualifying

Vinales claimed his third victory as a Yamaha rider, and the fourth of his career, at Le Mans, winning after a massive fight with Rossi, who took the lead with three laps to go.

The polesitter controlled the middle phase of the race after retaking the lead from Johann Zarco on lap seven, but his advantage never got above one second.

Rossi passed Zarco with six laps to go and caught Vinales, making his move and eventually starting the final lap four tenths ahead.

However he then made a pair of mistakes, the second ending Rossi's race three corners early, handing Vinales the win after the Spaniard himself threw caution to the wind.

"When it was two laps to go, I think you have to take the victory," he said.

"You cannot leave any chance, you have to push over the limit of the bike.

"The way I did the first corner, this fast corner, was like in qualifying, I just closed the eyes and went to the corner and [waited to] see what happens.

"And the bike was really good so I said, 'OK, I try now in second corner'.

"All the corners I did, I did like in qualifying. And honestly I was riding at 110%.

"I think it was the day that I was riding better on the bike, but Valentino was quite impressive.

"When I entered the last lap, I said 'OK, now is the moment, you have to push and I did it'."

Rossi's first mistake came at Turn 8, where Vinales said he was planning to have a look anyway, losing the rear end slightly under brakes, running wide and relinquishing the lead.

He finally came unstuck at Turn 11, unbeknown to Vinales, who set a new lap record on the final tour, and was expecting a challenge at the final corner.

"When I saw he did a mistake [at Turn 8], I just braked as late as I can and put the bike in," he added.

"I took a lot of risk because I went with full pressure on the brakes and leaning a lot but it was good for me because the bike was keeping really good grip in the front.

"I didn't see that Valentino crashed until I crossed the line.

"The last laps I was thinking, 'OK, in the last corner, he's going to try to overtake', so I was preparing myself for the touch.

"In the last lap I was waiting for the touch, because I know Valentino didn't want to give up and for sure he's going to leave the brakes."

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