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Melandri takes victory in breathtaking Alice Grand Prix of France

Melandri takes victory in breathtaking Alice Grand Prix of France

Melandri takes victory in breathtaking Alice Grand Prix of France

Marco Melandri took victory at a packed Le Mans circuit in a thrilling Alice Grand Prix of France, becoming the first rider to win two races this season.

The weather ahead of the race left all riders and teams gambling, and the race itself was equally as unpredictable. The first lap was littered with notable incidents, as Melandri took the holeshot before being overtaken by Suzuki's John Hopkins and a collision between Randy de Puniet, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa left Kawasaki's hometown rider out of the race and pushed Colin Edwards and Sete Gibernau off the track.

After storming his way through the field, Rossi was up into the lead by lap 4, and when Hopkins lost his front end and fell to the back of the pack on lap 10 the stage was set for the season's long awaited battle between the reigning MotoGP and 250cc World Champions.

Rossi seemed to have the upper hand over young pretender Pedrosa, extending his lead with assertion. However, in the key moment of the day, the charismatic Italian pulled over on lap 21, clearly distraught after suffering mechanical failure.

Three laps later, Melandri made his move and broke past Pedrosa. The Fortuna Honda rider created a gap and crossed the line for the win. Loris Capirossi pulled out one of the greatest outbraking moves of the season to snatch second place.

Casey Stoner continued his run of good form, having not finished outside the top six in his first Motogp season. One rider who did see an end to his personal record was Nicky Hayden. The flu-stricken Kentucky Kid was off the podium for the first time for the first time in nine races.

Colin Edwards clawed his way back through the field, ahead of Makoto Tamada and fellow first corner incident sufferer Sete Gibernau. Toni Elias and Chris Vermeulen finished ninth and tenth respectively.


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