Le Mans: forty years of motorcycle grand prix racing
The Le Mans circuit has a great history of Grand Prix racing and first hosted a GP event forty years ago. Below are some facts and figures from GP racing at Le Mans:
>> This will be the 22nd occasion that a Grand Prix event has been held at the Le Mans circuit, including ten
successive occasions from 2000.
>> The first time the Grand Prix was held at Le Mans was on the 18th May 1969, when the main race was won by Giacomo Agostini, who lapped all the other riders in the race on his MV Agusta. The highlight of the event for the home crowd was the victory in the 125cc race by Jean Aureal (Yamaha), the first ever victory in the class by a French rider.
>> In addition to Jean Aureal’s win in 1969 there have been three other wins at Le Mans by the home riders. In 1979 Guy Bertin (Motobecane) won the 125cc race and Patrick Fernandez (Yamaha) won the 350cc race. Last year, Mike di Meglio (Derbi) won the 125cc GP at Le Mans on his way to taking the world title.
>> Randy de Puniet is the most successful French rider in the 250cc class at Le Mans with four successive podium finishes between 2002 and 2005. Other French riders who have finished on the podium in the 250cc class at Le Mans are; Olivier Jacque (2000), Dominique Sarron (1987), Thierry Rapicault (1983) and Patrick Fernandez (1979).
>> There have only been two French riders finish on the podium in the premier-class at Le Mans; Raymond Roche was 2nd in 1985 and Christian Sarron finished 3rd in 1987.
>> The three riders who have had the most victories at the Le Mans circuit are Dani Pedrosa (2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc), Freddie Spencer (2 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc) and Valentino Rossi (3 x MotoGP).