After a disastrous start to his 2006 season, 125cc world champion Thomas Luthi stepped onto the podium for the first time this year at Le Mans - the Swiss rider being victorious in a damp race, following a heartbreaking finale for Alvaro Bautista.

KTM's Mika Kallio took the holeshot, with a group of four riders soon taking charge at the head of the pack: Kallio, Bautista, Luthi and Fabrizio Lai breaking free, while Lukas Pesek and Mike di Meglio falling by the wayside.

Luthi took the win on the last lap, when Bautista waved him through after suffering a mechanical problem. Kallio and Lai also took advantage of the championship leader's misfortune to complete the podium positions, whilst Bautista limped across the line fourth.

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Pablo Nieto appeared seemingly from nowhere to finish fifth, whilst the top ten positions were made up by Raffaele de Rosa, Joan Olive, Sergio Gadea, Andrea Iannone and Simone Corsi.

Fifteen-year-old Bradley Smith finished 21st after the intermediate tyres on his Repsol Honda lost grip as the track began to dry.

125cc top ten - French Grand Prix:

1. Luthi (Honda)
2. Kallio (KTM) +3.380secs
3. Lai (Honda) +9.807secs
4. Bautista (Aprilia) +10.789secs
5. Nieto (Aprilia) +14.850secs
6. de Rosa (Aprilia) +17.226secs
7. Olive (Aprilia) +20.577secs
8. Gadea (Aprilia) +21.818secs
9. Iannone (Aprilia) +27.038secs
10. Corsi (Gilera) +30.171secs

21. Smith (Honda) +46.581secs