Jorge Lorenzo has become the first double winner of the 2009 MotoGP
season with victory in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans - a race that began in the wet, finished in the dry and saw Marco Melandri
take his Hayate-run Kawasaki to second position!
Meanwhile, Lorenzo's team-mate Valentino Rossi
fell after a premature swap to slick tyres and also received a ride through penalty.
After showers throughout Friday and Saturday, rain began falling just after the Sunday morning warm-up session, but stopped as the MotoGP
grid assembled and brighter conditions meant the track was certain to dry at some point in the race.
But the race began in fully wet conditions and with pole sitter Dani Pedrosa
holding the advantage from Casey Stoner, Lorenzo and Rossi through the fast first turn and into the Dunlop Chicane.
Lorenzo shot past Stoner and Pedrosa in quick succession and began disappearing up front, while Rossi made more cautious progress - reaching the runner-up spot on lap 3 of 28, by which time Lorenzo was over two seconds clear.
Lorenzo pulled a further second on Rossi on the next lap, by which time a dry line was becoming visible, perhaps prompting Rossi to make the brave decision to pit for his dry bike.
Rossi, Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi
all veered down the pitlane at the end of lap five and rejoined at the back of the field in 15th, 16th and 17th places - but the track was still very slippery in places and Rossi was caught out at the left-hand museum turn, losing the front of his M1 and sliding into the gravel.
Hopes of achieving his 99th grand prix victory on Sunday, and therefore battling for his 100th in front of his home fans next time out at Mugello, were effectively over but the reigning six-time world champion was eventually able to restart his M1 and cruise back to the pits with a broken screen.
Rossi rejoined on his wet weather bike, but later received a ride-through indicating some kind of pit lane infringement. The Italian served the penalty before pitting yet again, this time for his repaired dry bike, on his way to finishing 16th and last, with not even a point for his efforts.