Yuki Takahashi took his first victory of 2006 in the 250cc French Grand Prix at Le Mans today, after snatching victory from Humangest Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the finishing line.

The Japanese rider extended the Italian's search for his first win in the quarter litre category in a heartbreaking finale for Dovizioso, after the two battled tooth and nail on the final laps.

The fight for third place saw brothers Shuhei and Hiroshi Aoyama pulling no punches in search of valuable world championship points. Shuhei, younger by three years, managed to hold off his race-winning sibling for a superb first podium of the season.

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Alex de Angelis, in contention for a rostrum place for a large percentage of the race, finished fifth ahead of Roberto Locatelli, who was involved in a crash with Jorge Lorenzo which put the Spaniard out of the race. Hector Barbera, Marco Simoncelli, Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz completed the top ten ahead of Anthony West, who dropped down when the expected rainfall failed to arrive.

Both Chaz Davies and Dan Linfoot crashed out on the first lap: Davies was brought down by Frenchman Jules Cluzel while Linfoot, on his 250GP debut, fell without injury.

250cc top ten - French Grand Prix:

1. Takahashi (Honda)
2. Dovizioso (Honda) +0.098secs
3. S. Aoyama (Honda) +2.215secs
4. H. Aoyama (KTM) +2.484secs
5. de Angelis (Aprilia) +11.270secs
6. Locatelli (Aprilia) +14.597secs
7. Barbera (Aprilia) +16.829secs
8. Simoncelli (Gilera) +17.041secs
9. Guintoli (Aprilia) +17.589secs
10. Smrz (Aprilia) +17.805secs

Davies (Aprilia) DNF