Almost a year after his last victory - Malasya on October 2003 - the Spaniard rider Toni Elías took his inaugural victory with a Honda at the Portuguese GP, eleventh round of the 250 cc. Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP). The podium was completed by both Aprilia riders Sebastián Porto and Randy De Puniet.
The 26 laps of race were a head to head between Elías and Porto. The Argentinian jumped to the leadership in the start, always followed by Elías. Pole sitter, Dani Pedrosa lost until fifth in the first move.
With just a few laps completed, it was clear the two groups of the race: Porto and Elías fighting the victory, and De Puniet with Pedrosa arguing for a place in the podium.
Porto inicated the competition very strong, but Elías never let him to build a gap and push hard in the chase of the Aprilia number 19.
Elías knew this was his big opportunity of the season, in a difficult year for the former Aprilia rider. The Spaniard had his reward leaving the three fighters for the championship behind.
"I couldn`t be happier. Since a while a was looking for the victory and I finally took it", expressed Elías with a big smile.
About the race, the winner explained: "Already in the start I saw Porto was really quick and he wanted to get away, so I did it all to follow him and not loose his bike, while I was thinking in the best strategy for the last part of the race".
Daniel Amatriain, Fortuna team manager, also expressed his happiness. "I want a congratulate Toni for this amazing result. He had a lot of pression and showed he is a great rider. The victory finally came".
After today`s result, Elías will continue pushing hard in the last five rounds of the championship, although it will be hard to improve his four place in the standings.
The second place at Estoril means for Porto his fourth podium in the last four races. The Argentinian, three times winner this season, cut some good points in the fight for the championship and proved again he is the number one of Aprilia, despite De Puniet still ahead in the points classification.
Porto left Estoril happy with the perfonmance of the bike and the team. "Today we done a great job. It`s been a hard race, I didn`t expect the rhythm of the race to be so fast, mostly in the last part. The bike worked very well, but Toni it`s been faster in the end", Porto commented.
Despite he couldn`t reach the first place, it was a good result for the championship. "This second place is very good, although I wanted to win, we cut some important points. I want a congratulate the team", finished Sebas.
De Puniet scored third place and added another podium this season, where he only had one victory. The French could not follow Elías and Porto and had a lot of work in the end to keep Pedrosa behind.
Standings leader, Pedrosa, finished fourth with a lot of luck. The Spaniard completed the competition with a screw in the rear tire of his Honda. It was a miracle that Pedrosa, with the "almost flat tire" saw the chequered flag.
Pedrosa started the race from the pole, but quickly lost the train of the leaders. The Spaniard understood after the race why his bike was so complicated to drive.
"We had a problem with the rear tire, it was loosing air during the race. Since the first lap I realised something was wrong. I tried to fight and finally took fourth. Is not I result I enjoy, but it is good. In 125cc. Andrea Dovizioso retired because of the same problem. At least I could finish the race", said dissapointed Pedrosa.
Pedrosa leads the championship with 209, followed by De Puniet with 182 and Porto with 173 units. Elías, Alex de Angelis and Fonsi Nieto complete top-six places.
On September 19th. will continue this exciting championship at Motegi GP.