Skip to main content

Lorenzo wins at Le Mans to take championship lead

May 20, 2012 -- Updated 1805 GMT (0205 HKT)
Jorge Lorenzo and second-place Valentine Rossi thrived in the wet conditions at Le Mans
Jorge Lorenzo and second-place Valentine Rossi thrived in the wet conditions at Le Mans
  • Jorge Lorenzo wins the French MotoGP for his second victory of the season
  • Valentino Rossi thrives in wet conditions to finish second for his best result for Ducati
  • Casey Stoner is third in the week he announced his impending retirement
  • Lorenzo leads the championship by eight points from Stoner

(CNN) -- Jorge Lorenzo climbed from fourth on the grid to win the French MotoGP at a rain-soaked Le Mans on Sunday and take the lead in the championship.

Riding his Yamaha flawlessly in the wet conditions, Lorenzo took the lead on the first lap and eventually finished 9.905 seconds clear of Valentino Rossi, who had the consolation of his best finish so far for Ducati.

Rossi held off a determined Casey Stoner, who finished third in the week he announced he was quitting the sport at the end of the season.

"It was really difficult to hold concentration today, in the dry it's complicated but in the wet it's even more," Lorenzo said. "The race feels much longer and you have to remember where the corners are slippery every lap. If you forget one you can crash very easily."

Lorenzo, who won for the second time this season, leads the championship by eight points from Stoner.

"I was pretty happy to hold on for a podium today," Stoner said. "I enjoyed the battle with Valentino at the end, there was clean overtaking and we swapped positions a few times but in the end we knew that Valentino had better pace than us and after he passed there was no way I could stay with him.

"We did everything we could today and to come away with a podium is a good result."

I tried to ride perfectly and not throw it away
Valentino Rossi

Stoner's Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa started on pole but ended up fourth, and is now 25 points adrift of Lorenzo.

"In the race I immediately realized it was not my day, not a day to take any risk and it was important to simply reach the best position," Pedrosa said.

Rossi managed to work his way from the third row of the grid to second. The seven-time MotoGP champion overtook Stoner on the final lap to record his best result since joining Ducati in 2011.

"I'm really, really happy," Rossi said. "We knew we had a special opportunity in the wet today, so I tried to ride perfectly and not throw it away.

"It was a great race and a nice, fun battle with Stoner to the last lap. Now our main goal is to take another step forward and make up some more tenths."

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.