MotoGP racing highlights from Le Mans
Spanish star Jorge Lorenzo found the perfect remedy for his Jerez frustrations at Le Mans, bouncing straight back from his DNF in Spain with a brilliant win at the Grand Prix de France in highly difficult conditions – to return to the top of the standings.
Lorenzo took the lead on the first lap and shot away at the front, building up a big advantage on wet tyres as the track dried quickly, eventually being the last rider to change onto slicks in his first ever ‘flag-to-flag’ contest and riding superbly on both sets of tyres to win by a 17 second margin.
Another brilliant effort by Hayate Racing’s Marco Melandri saw him cross the line second for his first podium since 2007, having been unsure of his MotoGP future over the winter.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa hunted down his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap for third place to secure his third consecutive podium result.
A nightmare for Valentino Rossi saw him slip from first to joint second in the standings after a chaotic race. The World Champion swapped bikes three times, suffered a crash and was given a ride through for speeding in pit lane before eventually finishing last.
Australians Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) and Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) were fifth and sixth respectively, with Stoner drawing level with Rossi in second place in the championship.
Veterans Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who mounted a comeback from sixteenth early in the race, and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) would have ultimately hoped for better than their seventh and eighth places.
A solid performance for James Toseland (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) saw the Englishman take a step in the right direction in ninth and Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini) completed the top ten.
Lorenzo’s advantage at the top of the standings is just one point, ahead of title favourites Rossi and Stoner who sit jointly in second position with 65 points each. Mugello, one of Rossi’s favourite venues and his home circuit, will host the next round, the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice, the fifth date on the 2009 MotoGP World Championship calendar.