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Classics: Relive three of the best French GPs

Classics: Relive three of the best French GPs

Ahead of the 2016 Monster Energy Grand Prix de France relive three of the best races held at the legendary Le Mans circuit.

The 2004 MotoGP™ season saw reigning champion Valentino Rossi leave the Factory Honda team to join their rivals Yamaha, as the Doctor took a gamble on riding for a manufacturer that hadn’t won a title for ten years. The Italian immediately hit the ground running, winning the first race of the season at Phakisa to lay to rest any doubts people may have had about his move. The 2003 runner-up Sete Gibernau would bounce back to take victory at the second round in Jerez. This meant that heading into the French GP it was the Spaniard who led the standings with 40 points, with Max Biaggi in second after his two second places on 40 points, and Rossi 2 points further back in third.

As the three great rivals lined up on the grid it was Gibernau on pole, with Biaggi in 3rd and Rossi starting from the head of the second row in fourth…

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The 2007 MotoGP™ season saw the switch to 800cc MotoGP bikes after Nicky Hayden had won the title the year before in a dramatic finale at Valencia. Casey Stoner on the Ducati had emerged as the man to beat after the first four rounds of the season having taken victory in three races, with Rossi winning in Spain. Rain on Sunday though would change everything as the riders were forced to swap bikes in a flag-to-flag race.

This led to one of the most dramatic races in recent memory as the changing conditions levelled the playing field for a number of riders who would not normally be in contention…

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The 2012 French GP was the 800th grand prix event to count towards the World Championship. There was drama added to the mix before the race even began as reigning MotoGP™ champion Casey Stoner had announced his retirement form the sport at the end of the season.  The Australian was looking to bow out on a high by winning his third premier class title and he led Lorenzo by a single point in the standings heading to the fourth round of the season at Le Mans. Lorenzo was looking to bounce back after missing out on the title to Stoner the year before and retake his championship lead, with the Spaniard more focused than ever.

Rossi was in his second year at Ducati having scored his only podium for the manufacturer in a wet race at Le Mans the year before. With rain once again making an appearance on Sunday, the Italian would fancy his chances of making it on to the rostrum once more. Stoner started from pole, with Lorenzo in fourth and Rossi at the back of the third row in ninth.  What happened next was an incredible display of wet weather riding by three World Champions all with something to prove.

Watch the full race


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