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Le Mans – a circuit with a great history

Le Mans – a circuit with a great history

Le Mans – a circuit with a great history

Le Mans has a great history as a Grand Prix circuit. The upcoming race will mark the 18th time that a Grand Prix has been held at the circuit and below are some of the highlights of previous events:

1969 – The first premier-class race at Le Mans was won by Giacomo Agostini, who lapped all the other riders in the race on his MV-Agusta. The highlight of the event for the home crowd was the victory in the 125cc race by Jean Aureal, the first ever 125cc triumph by a French rider. Spaniard Santiago Herrero won the 250cc race on the single-cylinder Ossa.

1970 – The winners of each of the four races in 1970 went on to win the world title that year in their respective categories: 500cc – Giacomo Agostini, 250cc – Rod Gould, 125cc – Dieter Braun, 50cc – Angel Nieto.

1976 – Barry Sheene, riding a Suzuki, won the opening race of the year at Le Mans in 1976 on the way to his first world title. Walter Villa became the first rider to take a double win at Le Mans when he won both the 250cc and 350cc races on his Harley Davidson.

1979 – Barry Sheene repeated his victory of three years earlier in the 500cc race. The home crowd had a lot to cheer about with Patrick Fernandez wining the 350cc race and Guy Bertin winning the 125cc race.

1983 – Freddie Spencer took victory in the main event in front of Marco Lucchinelli and Ron Haslam in what was the first ever all Honda podium in the premier class. The 250cc race was won by 18-year old English rider Alan Carter in his second ever Grand Prix start, making him the youngest rider to have won a Grand Prix at that time.

1985 – Freddie Spencer again won the 500cc race and repeated the victory in the 250cc class on his way to becoming the only rider to win both the 500cc and 250cc world titles in the same year.

1987 – Randy Mamola scored the first win by a Yamaha rider in the premier-class at Le Mans after home rider Christian Sarron had qualified on pole position while his brother Dominique Sarron started on pole for the 250cc race.

1989 – Eddie Lawson won the main race in front of Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey; one of nine times that year that these three American riders finished together on the podium.

1990 – Kevin Schwantz won the 500cc race while Carlos Cardus repeated his victory of the previous year in the 250cc race.

1991 – The "Grand Prix Vitesse du Mans" was included in the calendar as a replacement for the cancelled Brazilian Grand Prix and is the only time that two Grand Prix events have been held in France in the same year. Kevin Schwantz repeated his win of the previous year while Helmut Bradl won the 250cc race, the last of his five GP victories.

1994 – Mick Doohan won for the first time at the Le Mans circuit in his first Championship winning year. Loris Capirossi led an all Italian podium in the 250cc race being followed home by Doriano Romboni and Max Biaggi.

1995 – Mick Doohan repeated his victory of the previous year. Safety concerns were raised following a high-speed accident involving Alberto Puig, which resulted in a five- year break from holding the GP event while track modifications were made.

2000 – The 1999 world champion Alex Criville scored his final Grand Prix victory in the 500cc race.

2001 – Max Biaggi scored the second of Yamaha's two victories in the premier-class at Le Mans. Daijiro Kato won the 250cc race on the way to taking the world title, while Manuel Poggiali took his debut GP victory in the 125cc race.

2002 – Valentino Rossi's victory in the MotoGP race is his only GP victory at this circuit in all classes.

2003 – Spanish riders dominated the event with Sete Gibernau (MotoGP), Toni Elias (250cc) and Dani Pedrosa (125cc) winning the three races.

2004 – Sete Gibernau repeated his win of the previous year, followed home by Carlos Checa for the first ever Spanish one-two in the premier class. Dani Pedrosa also won again, but this time in the 250cc class. Andrea Dovizioso won the 125cc race on his way to taking the world title.


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