Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo returned to the top of the MotoGP standings after an impressive performance in testing conditions at Le Mans on Sunday.
The 2010 world champion continued his fine to start to the season by claiming victory in the rain at the French Grand Prix to follow up his opening-day success in Qatar and his second-placed finishes at Spain and Portugal.
The Yamaha Factory Racing rider finished almost 10 seconds ahead of Italian star Valentino Rossi, who recorded his best result since 2010 by taking second on the hitherto troublesome Ducati. Rossi finished third in France last year - his best result of the 2011 season.
Third spot was claimed by reigning champion Casey Stoner, who on Thursday surprised the sport by announcing he would be retiring at the end of the season.
The 26-year-old Australian had won the last two races in Spain and Portugal but he lost top spot in the overall standings to Lorenzo following today's race, with the Spaniard now eight points clear at the summit.
In third spot overall is Lorenzo's countryman Dani Pedrosa, who pipped Stoner for pole yesterday but could only finish fourth today and is now 17 points behind the Repsol Honda rider in the classification.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow and his Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had to settle for eighth and seventh places respectively after both suffered falls while battling for a podium place with Rossi.