LE MANS (France): Spain’s Sete Gibernau, on a Honda, won the rain-interrupted French motorcycling Grand Prix, the fourth leg in the 16-race season, here yesterday.
Gibernau came in ahead of Italian Valentino Rossi, on a Honda, and Brazilian Yamaha rider Alex Barros.
The wet weather conditions brought about the interruption of the race on the 16th of the 28 laps.
Under new International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) regulations, the remaining laps were completed after the riders were allowed two warm-up laps before starting again on the grid in the order they were before the break.
Rossi started first on pole ahead of Barros, Japan’s Tohru Ukawa and Honda teammate Max Biaggi of Italy. Gibernau had been in fifth spot on the second row of the grid.
Barros went quickly into the lead ahead of Gibernau and Rossi, though Rossi managed to motor to the front with three laps to go ahead of the Spaniard but Gibernau held on to beat the four-time world champion.
Spain’s Toni Elias, riding an Aprilia, won the 250cc category, finishing ahead of Frenchman Randy de Puniet, on an Aprilia, and Honda rider Roberto Rolfo of Italy.
San Marino’s Manuel Poggiali retained the overall lead although he fell on the sixth of the 26 laps after an accident with the Honda of Argentina’s Sebastian Porto bringing about his retirement.
Spain’s Daniel Pedrosa, riding a Honda, won the 125cc section, crossing the line ahead of Italians Lucio Cecchinello, riding an Aprilia, and Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso to oust Germany’s Steve Jenkner from top spot overall. – AFP