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21/05/2012 AFTER LE MANS


Finally, a race worthy of Valentino! Rossi had a fabulous race under the wet conditions he loves and that don’t penalize less performing machines. He didn't win. That honour goes to Jorge Lorenzo actually who dominated the race on his Yamaha from start to finish (and regained the world championship lead) but Valentino's rhythm was incredible. He put Dovi and Crutchlow, who both fell, to the test, he demoralised Pedrosa who dropped off the pack and then won a hard fought battle to demote Casey Stoner to third place. Although the Australian has announced he is retiring at the end of the year, this unbelievably didn't affect the brilliance of his performance. Maybe his tyres were past their best towards the end but he showed true sportsmanship when he complimented his bitter rival Rossi on a good clean fight. Now Ducati regains confidence and this week it will test a new engine with smoother power delivery. Its number one rider has clearly shown that he still has the same hunger and skill as in better days and now, with the recent take-over by Audi, the whole team wants to be back up with the leaders. Optimism is therefore very much the case. It has been quite some time since we've seen so many close fought battles and so many passes in a French GP. Stefan Bradl also deserves a mention. The German rookie of the year showed his potential by finishing fifth ahead of Hayden. Pasini and Petrucci performed very well under the treacherous conditions as they fought for eleventh position and lead of the CRT class. Sadly, Danilo fell in the end, and Mattia lost out to Ellison but it is clear that when these CRT machines are ridden well under such difficult conditions, they really make for a good race.

The other two races were just as hard fought and thrilling as the MotoGP race with dramatic turns of event again and again on the slippery Bugatti track. Luthi won the Moto2 with Claudio Corti taking second place on the podium one step above Redding. Andrea Iannone started cautiously from the middle of the group then made up ground to finish fourth. Corsi and Rea, two of the biggest names in the race, both failed to finish this dramatic French GP. Thanks to his sixth place and a little bit of luck when Marquez slid off the track at half distance, Pol Espargaro now leads the standings. The standings couldn't be closer: Pol 71 points, Marc 70 and Luthi 68. Iannone is in fourth with 46 and there is still all to play for.

Moto3 was won by another Rossi, the French rider Louis Rossi who had a fairytale victory on his home track after many of his rivals fell by the wayside as they tried to keep up with his relentless rhythm. Other fallers included Vinales, Faubel, Oliveira and Fenati with the best Italian performance coming from Niccolò Antonelli. The Gresini rider looked as if he could challenge Rins for third place only to almost crash out on the final lap and finish fourth. Ale Tonucci took four points finishing fourteenth ahead of Ajo.