MotoGP's Best Battles: No4 Paul Ricard 1988

Published: 23 June 2016

Our pick of the 10 greatest premier-class multi-rider dogfights of all time

here are few more beautiful racetracks in the world than Circuit Paul Ricard, nestled on a perfumed plain just 20 minutes from the topless beaches of the Cote d’Azur. At least it is pretty until four factory 500s rocket past on the Mistral straight, nudging 190mph, rattling the Armco and chilling your spine with their petrifying chainsaw yowl.

It’s 1988, the first year of massed V4s  and this was the first of the humdinger races: Wayne Gardner (Honda) fighting a grudge match with arch-enemy Eddie Lawson (Yamaha), plus rookie Kevin Schwantz (Suzuki) and local hero Christian Sarron (Yamaha) in the mix.

Gardner was the strongest, racing for a hat-trick to put him back in the title hunt with Lawson (riding hurt). In the final laps the Aussie made the break, only for his engine to stop on the last lap. That gave Lawson the lead, Sarron riding shotgun for Yamaha, Schwantz handicapped by a lack of straight-line speed, as usual.

Words Mat Oxley