1988 French motorcycle Grand Prix
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2006)|
The 1988 French motorcycle Grand Prix was the eleventh round of the 1988 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 22-24 July, 1988 at the 5.81 km (3.61 mi) Paul Ricard Circuit.
500 cc race report
Christian Sarron’s 5th pole in a row, and his last ever in 500 GP.
Like most of the mid-field, Niall Mackenzie jumps the start and races to the lead, but the race is allowed to continue and no penalties are handed out by the officials. Onto the 1.8 km long Mistral Straight for the first time Wayne Gardner used the power of his Honda to shoot to the lead from Kevin Schwantz, Mackenzie and Wayne Rainey.
Gardner and pole sitter Sarron battled for the lead with Schwantz and Eddie Lawson who was battling a shoulder injury and had turned to famed Austrian Willi Dungl to help him get fit to race. Gardner's Honda had the advantage on the long Mistral Straight over all but Lawson's Yamaha, but Lawson, Sarron and Schwantz had the advantage through the turns, though the Suzuki was clearly the slowest on the straights. The quartet gradually pulled away from Rainey, who in turn pulled away from a pack including Randy Mamola, Didier de Radiguès, Pierfrancesco Chili and Kevin Magee.
Going into the last lap, Gardner had pulled out a two second lead over the trio and looked set to win his fourth race in a row. However, going through the Courbe de Signes at the end of the Mistral his bike developed mechanical problems, though he had a big enough gap over Wayne Rainey to struggle home in 4th place. Gardner's breakdown allowed Lawson to win the race and extend his lead in the championship. Sarron consolidated his second place in the title race, finishing only 0.22 behind the American. In one of the closest top 3 finishes in history, Schwantz finished in 3rd place only 0.24 behind Sarron and less than half a second from winning. Schwantz came out of the final turn and knowing his bike didn't have the acceleration to pass, pulled a wheelie until after crossing the line and celebrated on the cool down lap for gaining an unexpected podium finish.
1988 Yugoslavian Grand Prix
|FIM Grand Prix World Championship
1988 British Grand Prix
1987 French Grand Prix
|French motorcycle Grand Prix||Next race:
1989 French Grand Prix