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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.[4]

France  1988 French Grand Prix
Race details
Race 11 of 15 races in the
1988 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
Circuit Paul Ricard.png
Date24 July 1988
Official nameGrand Prix de France[1][2][3]
LocationCircuit Paul Ricard
  • Permanent racing facility
  • 5.809 km (3.610 mi)
500 cc
Pole position
Rider France Christian Sarron Yamaha
Fastest lap
Rider Australia Wayne Gardner Honda
First United States Eddie Lawson Yamaha
Second France Christian Sarron Yamaha
Third United States Kevin Schwantz Suzuki
250 cc
Pole position
Rider France Dominique Sarron Honda
Fastest lap
Rider Spain Juan Garriga Yamaha
First Switzerland Jacques Cornu Honda
Second Spain Sito Pons Honda
Third France Dominique Sarron Honda
125 cc
Pole position
Rider Italy Ezio Gianola Honda
Fastest lap
Rider Spain Jorge Martínez Derbi
First Spain Jorge Martínez Derbi
Second Italy Ezio Gianola Honda
Third Italy Corrado Catalano Aprilia
Sidecar (B2A)
Pole position
Rider Switzerland Rolf Biland LCR-Krauser
Fastest lap
Rider Switzerland Rolf Biland LCR-Krauser
First Switzerland Rolf Biland LCR-Krauser
Second United Kingdom Steve Webster LCR-Krauser
Third Switzerland Markus Egloff LCR-ADM

500 cc race reportEdit

Frenchman Christian Sarron claimed his 5th pole position in a row on his Yamaha YZR500, and his last ever in 500 GP.

Like most of the mid-field, Niall Mackenzie (Honda) jumped the start and raced to the lead, but the race was allowed to continue and no penalties were handed out by race officials. On the 1.8 km long Mistral Straight for the first time Wayne Gardner used the power of his factory Rothmans Honda to shoot to the lead from Kevin Schwantz (Suzuki), Mackenzie and Wayne Rainey (Yamaha).

Gardner and pole sitter Sarron battled for the lead with Schwantz and Eddie Lawson (Yamaha), who was battling a shoulder injury suffered in the previous race in Yugoslavia only one week before and had turned to famed Austrian Willi Dungl to help him get fit to race. Gardner's Honda had the advantage on the Mistral Straight over all but Lawson's YZR500, but Lawson, Sarron and Schwantz had the advantage through the turns, though the Suzuki was clearly the slowest on the Pit and Mistral straights. The quartet gradually pulled away from Rainey, who in turn pulled away from a pack including Randy Mamola (Cagiva), Didier de Radiguès (Yamaha), Pierfrancesco Chili (Honda) and Kevin Magee (Yamaha).

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 when a crankshaft bolt broke loose and found its way into the water pump, though he had a big enough gap over Wayne Rainey to struggle home in 4th place only 5.720 seconds behind Lawson. 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.

Wayne Gardner, back in the form that has seen him win the World Championship in 1987, had the consolation of setting the races fastest lap.

1988 was the final time that the French motorcycle Grand Prix would be held on the full length 5.81 km (3.61 mi) Paul Ricard circuit. When Grand Prix racing next returned to the circuit in 1991, the 3.812 km (2.369 mi) 'Club' circuit was used.

500 cc classificationEdit

Pos. Rider Team Manufacturer Time/Retired Points
1   Eddie Lawson Marlboro Yamaha Team Agostini Yamaha 42:15.520 20
2   Christian Sarron Sonauto Gauloises Blondes Yamaha Mobil 1 Yamaha +0.220 17
3   Kevin Schwantz Suzuki Pepsi Cola Suzuki +0.460 15
4   Wayne Gardner Rothmans Honda Team Honda +5.720 13
5   Wayne Rainey Team Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha +17.630 11
6   Randy Mamola Cagiva Corse Cagiva +27.810 10
7   Didier de Radiguès Marlboro Yamaha Team Agostini Yamaha +30.620 9
8   Pierfrancesco Chili HB Honda Gallina Team Honda +30.870 8
9   Kevin Magee Team Lucky Strike Roberts Yamaha +35.110 7
10   Ron Haslam Team ROC Elf Honda Elf Honda +35.310 6
11   Rob McElnea Suzuki Pepsi Cola Suzuki +59.870 5
12   Malcolm Campbell Team ROC Elf Honda Elf Honda +1:19.040 4
13   Mike Baldwin Racing Team Katayama Honda +1:42.640 3
14   Alessandro Valesi Team Iberia Honda +1:46.140 2
15   Fabio Barchitta Racing Team Katayama Honda +2:02.540 1
16   Donnie McLeod Racing Team Katayama Honda +1 Lap
17   Marco Gentile Fior Marlboro Fior +1 Lap
18   Marco Papa Team Greco Honda +1 Lap
19   Fabio Biliotti Team Amoranto Honda +1 Lap
20   Manfred Fischer Team Hein Gericke Honda +1 Lap
21   Eddie Laycock Millar Racing Honda +1 Lap
22   Claude Arciero Honda +1 Lap
23   Nicholas Schmassman FMS Honda +1 Lap
24   Maarten Duyzers HDJ International Honda +1 Lap
Ret   Patrick Igoa Sonauto Gauloises Blondes Yamaha Mobil 1 Yamaha Retirement
Ret   Rachel Nicotte PVI Racing Honda Retirement
Ret   Daniel Amatriain Ducados Lotus Guarz Honda Retirement
Ret   Thierry Rapicault Fior Retirement
Ret   Bruno Kneubühler Romer Racing Suisse Honda Retirement
Ret   Josef Doppler MRC Grieskirchen Honda Retirement
Ret   Wolfgang von Muralt Suzuki Retirement
Ret   Niall Mackenzie Team HRC Honda Retirement
Ret   Shunji Yatsushiro Rothmans Honda Team Honda Retirement
Ret   Raymond Roche Cagiva Retirement
Ret   Jean Luc Demierre Suzuki Retirement
Ret   Vittorio Scatola Road Racing Team Avia Suzuki Retirement
DNS   Eric Sabatier Weigl Telefix Racing Team Honda Did not start
DNQ   Andreas Leuthe Suzuki Did not qualify
DNQ   Larry Moreno Vacondio Suzuki Did not qualify
DNQ   Ari Ramo Honda Did not qualify
DNQ   Claude Albert Suzuki Did not qualify
DNQ   Patrick Leruste Suzuki Did not qualify
DNQ   Bernard Andrault Honda Did not qualify
DNQ   Vincenzo Cascino Honda Did not qualify
DNQ   Christian Polard Honda Did not qualify
Sources: [5][6]


  1. ^ "Alle Grand-Prix uitslagen en bijzonderheden, van 1973 (het jaar dat Jack begon met racen) tot heden". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Malcolm. "1988 500cc Class (FIM Grand Prix World Championship) Programmes - The Motor Racing Programme Covers Project". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Malcolm. "Paul Ricard - The Motor Racing Programme Covers Project". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Moto GP statistics". Moto GP. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  5. ^ "1988 French MotoGP - Motor Sport Magazine Database". 13 June 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  6. ^ "FRENCH GRAND PRIX · 500cc Race Classification 1988". Retrieved 17 September 2018.

External linksEdit