Jorge Lorenzo has won a soaking wet French MotoGP
at Le Mans, round four of the 2012 season.
The Yamaha star led almost from start to finish, in a race that saw Valentino Rossi
claim his best result as a Ducati rider after passing reigning champion Casey Stoner
for second position on the very final lap.
Lorenzo was bravest on the opening lap, charging from fourth to first in the slippery conditions, overtaking Repsol Honda riders Stoner and Dani Pedrosa
on the brakes.
The 2010 world champion then quickly built a buffer over his rivals, although Stoner threatened resistance around the middle stages, when he trimmed Lorenzo's lead to back under three seconds.
But the Yamaha rider responded and rode to a dominant 9.9sec victory at the conclusion of the 28 laps.
Lorenzo, who trailed reigning double world champion Stoner by just a single point heading into the race, is now back on top of the standings by eight points after his second win of the season.
While Lorenzo rode a solitary race, Rossi - whose only previous Ducati podium came at the same (dry) event last year - was involved in wheel-to-wheel battles throughout.
Moving from seventh to fourth on the opening lap, Rossi overtook the fading Pedrosa for third place on lap three. The seven time MotoGP
champion was then caught by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Andrea Dovizioso
and Cal Crutchlow.
The trio squabbled over the final podium place from laps 4 to 18, when Crutchlow lost the front of his M1 at the first chicane. The Englishman remounted - as did Dovizioso, who suffered the same fate with four laps to go. The pair finished seventh and eighth.
Rossi, who had caught Stoner in the early laps but failed to make a move, had broken free of Dovizioso and reeled in the reigning world champion over the final ten laps.
The Doctor then got within striking distance of his long-time rival when Stoner was held up by Yonny Hernandez with four laps remaining. Perhaps remembering last year's Jerez
collision, Rossi was careful to pick his moment - an his first two passing attempts gave Stoner enough room to cut straight back inside.