Aspar Aprilia's Julian Simon took a dominant victory in the 125cc French Grand Prix at a rainy Le Mans to grab the championship lead.
The Spaniard made the most of the difficult conditions by going from seventh on the grid to second within the opening lap, hunting down and forcing Nicolas Terol to make a mistake two laps later to take the lead, and then opening an unassailable lead over the rest of the field.
In the end Simon won by a massive 27 seconds, a gap that remained more or less constant for the entire second half of the event.
But that wasn't the only highlight of the race: in the space of 24 laps, where the slippery surface caused more than twenty crashes, 15-year-old German Jonas Folger took his Ongetta Aprilia to an outstanding second place, in only his ninth grand prix, after starting 16th on the grid.
Sergio Gadea snatched third from Aspar Aprilia teammate Bradley Smith with three laps to go, after the Briton had to give way to Folger midway through the race.
Folger's teammate Takaaki Nakagami was another rider making an excellent impression, by finishing fifth after starting a lowly 31st.
Dominique Aegerter, who crashed his Ajo Derbi when the race was at its half-way point, managed to keep sixth place over previous series leader Andrea Iannone, who crashed his Ongetta Aprilia in the opening lap and to start over in last place, 23 seconds behind second last at the beginning of lap two.
Efren Vazquez had a steady race with his Derbi to end up eighth, ahead of Terol, who crashed his Jack&Jones Aprilia once more on lap 18 while fifth. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ongetta Aprilia) completed the top ten.
Only 15 riders took the chequered flag out of 33 starters. Among the crashers are Simone Corsi (Aprilia), Tomoyoshi Koyama (Loncin), Scott Redding (Aprilia) Stefan Bradl (Aprilia), and Joan Olive (Derbi), whose crash caught out pole-position man Marc Marquez (KTM).
Pos Rider Bike Time
1. Julian Simon Aprilia 47m08.273s
2. Jonas Folger Aprilia + 27.084s
3. Sergio Gadea Aprilia + 30.916s
4. Bradley Smith Aprilia + 31.530s
5. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia +1m09.235s
6. D.Aegerter Derbi +1m12.223s
7. Andrea Iannone Aprilia +1m13.063s
8. Efrén Vazquez Derbi +1m19.912s
9. Nicolas Terol Aprilia +1m40.036s
10. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia +1m42.700s
11. Esteve Rabat Aprilia +1m59.326s
12. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 1 Lap
13. Jasper Iwema Honda + 1 Lap
14. Gregory Di Carlo Honda + 1 Lap
15. R.Krummenacher Aprilia + 2 Laps
Rider Bike Laps
Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 16
Stefan Bradl Aprilia 14
Scott Redding Aprilia 13
Tomoyoshi Koyama Loncin 10
Luca Vitali Aprilia 10
Cameron Beaubier KTM 8
Lukas Sembera Aprilia 8
Marc Marquez KTM 8
Johann Zarco Aprilia 8
Sturla Fagerhaug KTM 6
Joan Olive Derbi 5
Pol Espargaro Derbi 5
Daniel Webb Aprilia 4
Steven Le Coquen Honda 4
Simone Corsi Aprilia 2
Alexis Masbou Loncin 2
Cyril Carrillo Honda 1
Luca Marconi Aprilia 0
FASTEST LAP: Smith, 1m56.188s on lap 24