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The history of Grand Prix racing in France

The history of Grand Prix racing in France

As the MotoGP grid arrives at Le Mans for the Alice Grand Prix de France, motogp.com takes a look back at the colourful history of one of the oldest and most traditional events on the World Championship calendar.

As the MotoGP grid arrives at Le Mans for the Alice Grand Prix de France, motogp.com takes a look back at the colourful history of one of the oldest and most traditional events on the World Championship calendar.

The first ever French GP was held in 1951 at the Albi circuit, in just the third year of the motorcycling world championship series, but that was the one and only time that venue was used for a Grand Prix event. In the 56 years since there have only been seven years when there has not been a Grand Prix in France (1952, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1968, 1971 and 1993).

A total of eight different circuits have been used to host the French Grand Prix (number of events hosted in brackets): Albi (1), Clermont-Ferrand (10), Le Mans (18), Magny-Cours (1), Nogaro (2), Paul Ricard (13), Reims (2) and Rouen (2).

Le Mans was first used in 1969, when the 500cc race 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 win in the class by a French rider.

The only French rider to win in the premier class at his home Grand Prix is Pierre Monneret, who took victory in 1954 at Reims riding a Gilera. He also won the 350cc race at the same event on an AJS.

In addition to Aureal, there have been two other French riders to win at home in the 125cc class; Guy Bertin at Le Mans in 1979 riding a Motobecane and Jean-Claude Selini who won at Nogaro in 1982 on a MBA.

The only French rider to win on home soil in the 250cc class is Jean-Louis Tournadre who won at Nogaro in 1982.

Other French successes at their home GP have come in the 350cc class, with Patrick Fernandez in 1979 at Le Mans and Jean-Francois Baldé in 1982 at Nogaro.

The two riders who have had the most victories at the Le Mans circuit are Dani Pedrosa (2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc) and Freddie Spencer (2 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc).

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE

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