16-year-old rookie Maverick Vinales ended Nico Terol's unbeaten 2011 run with a stunning last-turn victory in Sunday's French 125cc Grand Prix.
Terol was making his 100th grand prix start at the event, and looking to take his fourth win in as many races, while Vinales came into Le Mans with a best finish of fourth from his three previous GPs.
Vinales was the only rider able to stick with pole sitter Terol and the pair had pulled seven-seconds clear of the field by the midway point of the 24 laps.
Vinales then continued to cling doggedly to the back of Terol - before grabbing the lead with eight laps to go. But the Paris Hilton Racing rider was unable to shake-off his experienced opponent, who retaliated with three laps remaining.
Terol must have hoped he could then break away from Vinales, or that the rookie would happily settle for a debut rostrum, but the determined Vinales had his sights set firmly on victory – which he claimed in dramatic style by diving for the inside at the very final turn.
Terol's Aspar Aprilia team-mate Hector Faubel, who hasn't finished higher than eleventh this year due to race accidents, led a five-rider battle for third for much of the race - but lost out to Ajo Derbi's Efren Vasquez in the closing stages.
Vasquez thus took his first podium of the year while team-mate and home rider Johann Zarco claimed fifth place behind Faubel.
Race results - Le Mans:
1. Vinales (Aprilia) 24 laps
2. Terol (Aprilia) +0.048s
3. Vazquez (Derbi) +6.836s
4. Faubel (Aprilia) +8.298s
5. Zarco (Derbi) +8.590s
6. Folger (Aprilia) +10.236s
7. Cortese (Aprilia) +10.667s
8. Gadea (Aprilia) +15.642s
9. Oliveira (Aprilia) +22.838s
10. Salom (Aprilia) +30.901s
17. Kent (Aprilia) +57.763s
22. Mackenzie (Aprilia) +1m 25.418s