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Vermeulen victorious in Le Mans rain.

Hopkins, third last time in China, collected a lonely seventh after his trip through the gravel, while Stoner's team-mate Loris Capirossi, plus Tech 3 team-mates Makoto Tamada and Guintoli, completed the top ten.

World Superbike rider Fonsi Nieto finished his first MotoGP race in eleventh. The Spaniard was riding as a replacement for the injured Olivier Jacque and OJ, a wet weather specialist, must have wondered what might have been when he saw de Puniet leading.

Edwards finished three laps down and was the final rider to reach the chequered flag after a chaotic afternoon in which seven failed to finish.

French Grand Prix:

1. Vermeulen
2. Melandri
3. Stoner
4. Pedrosa
5. Hofmann
6. Rossi
7. Hopkins
8. Capirossi
9. Tamada
10. Guintoli
11. Nieto
12. Edwards

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