Dani Pedrosa took his second victory of the season at today's French Grand Prix, after leading from the first corner and storming home by a clear gap of 7.711secs over local favourite Randy De Puniet.
It was almost a carbon copy of his performance here in the 125cc race one season ago and the youngster has now confirmed his potential as a serious title candidate in the quarter-litre class, moving up to second in the championship behind early leader De Puniet, who actually extended his lead today to ten points.
Toni Elias clinched the final podium position after crashes for his team-mate Roby Rolfo on the first lap and, more significantly, Sebastian Porto, who slid out of a comfortable third place with just nine laps remaining.
Elias eventually overtook Hiroshi Aoyama to claim the final podium position, with the Japanese rookie taking fourth ahead of Alex De Angelis, Anthony West
and Fonsi Nieto, who rode despite breaking his toe in the morning warm-up.
Meanwhile, Chaz Davies recovered from the double blow of a quickshifter problem in final qualifying, that left him nineteenth on the grid, and the theft of his leathers by fighting his way up to twelfth by the chequered flag – claiming his first world championship points of the season. Dani Pedrosa – 1st:
"It was a great race, and difficult as it was so long. I could do my rhythm and I'm happy because the bike was good, fast and consistent so thanks to the whole team. It's fantastic to be here again - on the podium in my third 250cc race and after I crashed at Jerez. I'm really happy! Thanks to everybody. " Randy De Puniet – 2nd:
"I tried to follow Dani but after four or five laps it was impossible. I think I had a little problem with the rear, but I don't know why. I finished second, my third second place this season - not so bad as I'm leading the championship. I hope I'll be able to win at Mugello." Toni Elias – 3rd:
"I was a little bit lucky with Porto crashing, but for me the third is very good. We had many problems in practice and this is good for us, but we'll try to get the bike set-up even better as it doesn't suit my riding style at the moment. I'm very happy with this third. " 250cc French Grand Prix – top twelve:
1. Pedrosa (Honda)
2. de Puniet (Aprilia) +7.711s
3. Elias (Honda) +19.233s
4. Aoyama (Honda) +20.427s
5. de Angelis (Aprilia) +21.175s
6. West (Aprilia) +24.269s
7. Nieto (Aprilia) +38.537s
8. Battaini (Aprilia) +39.827s
9. Debon (Honda) + 42.589s
10. Olive (Aprilia) + 47.541s
11. Smrz ( Honda) +47.874s
12. Davies (Aprilia) +51.623s