Marco Simoncelli took the first victory of his hitherto troubled 250cc title defence by dominating in wet conditions at Le Mans.
The Gilera rider, who only had a non-start, a retirement and a third place to show for his first three races of 2009, won an opening lap battle with Hiroshi Aoyama and then cruised away from the field to win by 18 seconds.
Simoncelli's winning margin was boosted by a string of accidents in his wake.
Lukas Pesek and Gabor Talmacsi's replacement Angel Rodriguez charged to second and third on the first lap. Rodriguez surged through from 16th on the grid on the Aspar bike Talmacsi vacated following a contractual dispute this week, only to crash on lap three. Moments later his sparring partner Pesek did likewise, although unlike Rodriguez he was able to re-mount his bike and continue.
Mattia Pasini was next to hold second place, but he too fell and had to retire early on.
Thomas Luthi and Alex Debon then established themselves in second and third, with the Spanish veteran edging closer to Luthi as the race progressed.
But before he could try a move for second, Debon lost control of his bike under braking and fell, bowling Luthi over as he slid into the gravel and taking both out. Debon rejoined briefly only for a second crash to end his afternoon shortly afterwards.
That incident moved Hector Faubel up to second, just ahead of Roberto Locatelli, who was not quite able to make it a Gilera one-two.
Poleman Alvaro Bautista tumbled down the order at the start and languished in 10th until the track began to dry a little. As his confidence increased, Bautista was able to charge through to fourth, ahead of Ratthapark Willairot, who claimed his best ever result in fifth.
Aoyama ran wide on the first lap dicing with Simoncelli and never got back into the lead fight, finishing eighth behind Raffaele de Rosa and the recovering Pesek. The result means Bautista takes a one point lead over Aoyama in the standings.
In a race littered with accidents, other notable incidents saw Alex Baldolini fall when running in a strong sixth place, and leading home rider Mike di Meglio crash at the final corner on lap 10.
Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Marco Simoncelli Gilera 49m07.591s 2. Hector Faubel Honda + 18.128s 3. Roberto Locatelli Gilera + 21.642s 4. Alvaro Bautista Aprilia + 31.087s 5. Ratthapark Wilairot Honda + 50.497s 6. Raffaele de Rosa Honda + 56.366s 7. Lukas Pesek Aprilia +1m16.025s 8. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda +1m22.882s 9. Imre Toth Aprilia +1m35.556s 10. Vladimir Leonov Aprilia +1m47.990s 11. Hector Barbera Aprilia + 1 lap 12. Karel Abraham Aprilia + 1 lap 13. Valentin Debise Honda + 1 lap 14. Toby Markham Honda + 1 lap Retirements: Alex Debon Aprilia 21 laps Alex Baldolini Aprilia 18 laps Thomas Luthi Aprilia 18 laps Mike di Meglio Aprilia 10 laps Mattia Pasini Aprilia 4 laps Axel Pons Aprilia 3 laps Aitor Rodriguez Aprilia 3 laps Angel Rodriguez Aprilia 2 laps Shoya Tomizawa Honda 1 lap Bastien Chesaux Honda 0 laps