Lorenzo zips to French MotoGP victory

LE MANS: Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo won the French MotoGP here on Sunday just a year after he finished second despite riding with two broken ankles.

The 22-year-old - a two-time 250cc world champion - enjoyed a trouble free ride on his Yamaha to coast home ahead of Italian Marco Melandri on a Kawasaki while pole sitter Dani Pedrosa of Spain was third on a Honda.

Lorenzo's joy was the reverse of Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi who had a nightmare as he sought his 99th career victory but in the end trailed in without scoring a point.

Lorenzo took the lead off his compatriot Pedrosa after the first lap passing both him and Australia's former world champion Casey Stoner in an audacious manoeuvre.

Stoner was suffering the most of the contenders as he then was passed by Rossi with 26 of the 28 laps remaining and the Italian great - known affectionately as the 'Doctor' - then overtook Pedrosa.

Lorenzo - who enjoys a difficult relationship with Rossi - held a lead of just over two seconds on the Italian.

However, disaster struck for Rossi with 23 laps remaining as having just come into the pits to change bikes and go on to dry tyres he came to grief on a corner and with his bike damaged he guided it back to the pits to get on a new one.

His day went from bad to worse as he was then penalised with a ride through penalty for speeding in the pit lane in his evident haste to try and rejoin the fray.

While he was enduring his nightmare Lorenzo looked serene out in front ahead of Andrea Dovizioso - who he led by over 11 seconds with 17 laps remaining - and he could afford to come into the pits with 16 laps to go.

Dovizioso's stay in second was shortlived and it was Melandri that became the biggest threat to Lorenzo as he trailed him by four seconds with 12 laps remaining.

Lorenzo never was in trouble after that and the main excitement came at the final lap when Pedrosa passed Honda team-mate Dovizioso to take the final podium spot.