Mike Stevens | May 18, 2009

Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo has stormed to the top of the MotoGP standings following a masterful performance at the French Grand Prix.

With the race declared rain-affected, riders started on wet set-ups but were given the opportunity to pit at any moment and switch to bikes prepared for dry conditions.

Lorenzo and Team Yamaha capitalised on the opportunity, delaying his stop while rivals immediately dove into pit lane, establishing a significant lead at the head of the pack which was only threatened by the Kawasaki of Marco Melandri.

However, the Italian’s challenge faded late in the race, handing Lorenzo his second victory of the season and a one-point lead in the World Championship, ahead of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi.

After a heavy crash in Jerez, Lorenzo was thrilled to bounce back with victory at Le Mans, saying he doubted his chances for the race weekend.

“Well in my dreams this could not happen, but it is happening for real,” he said. “After (Jerez) there was just darkness in my mind, but after a few days I started concentrating on this race.

“I have been riding well all weekend here and especially today. If in Spain I rode badly in the race then here I was able to do my best and ride the way I know. I also had a little bit of luck because it could have been easy to crash.”

motogp_dani-pedrosa_by_claudio-silva

Honda’s Dani Pedrosa rounded off the podium with a strong performance, remaining on the limit for the race’s entirety as he swept past team mate Andrea Dovizioso on the last lap.

Stoner crossed the line fifth after struggling with the bike’s handling mid-way through the race, while fellow Aussie Chris Vermeulen enhanced his reputation as a wet-weather specialist, riding as high as fourth before securing a season-best sixth place finish.

The race though was an unmitigated disaster for the reigning World Champion as Rossi crashed early on before receiving a drive-through penalty to finish last, two laps behind Lorenzo.

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