Manuel Poggiali returned to victory yesterday at the seventh round of the 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP) that took place at Río de Janeiro, Brazil. Dani Pedrosa, new leader in the standings, and Toni Elías completed the podium.
Six races disputed before Brazil put the current champion Poggiali with a third position as best result. However it all changed in the Nelson Piquet Raceway, and Poggiali, with an overwhelming Aprilia, dominated during most of the 22 laps of competition around the circuit of almost 5km of length.
The 2003 World Champion started the race from fifth place and quickly moved up to third with the green light. Poggiali, native of San Marino, catched second position and pushed hard Pedrosa`s leadership in the beggining until take the first place on lap four. It was the last change in the head of the race.
Poggiali, winner here last year, knew this might be his last opportunity to start fighting the championship. And that`s how he attack this race, using all the advantage of an Aprilia clearly superior to the others factories bikes of Randy de Puniet and Sebastián Porto for example.
Despite he couldn`t get away of the Honda persecutor, it always seemed that Poggiali had a little more to keep his leadership. So he did it until the chequered flag appeared and the champion returned to victory, in the same circuit he won for the last time ten rounds ago.
The Brazil raceway should it be a difficult circuit for the Honda RSW 250. But once again, the perfonmance shown by the Spaniard Pedrosa yestarday proved that things are changing. At least with his factory bike.
The straight of 1000 metres, the longest in the Continental Circus season, made believed that would take many chances to Honda and Pedrosa for a good result. Not at all.
Pedrosa jumped from the sixth place in the grid to the leadership, what seemed to be a revenge for the bad start a week ago at Assen.
His time in front wasn`t to long, however the Honda ryder managed to keep all the race breathing in the heels of Poggiali, only for a moment in third place.
The current 125cc. Champion kept always the pression over the leader, but knowing the second place was a good result thinking in the championship and the track, apparently not good for Honda.
Pedrosa seemed to attack Poggiali in the end, so his team quickly put him the sign "2 OK", and the 18 years old driver understood. "Poggiali had the best Aprilia, it didn`t worth it to take the risk", said later a thinking Pedrosa after the race.
The Movistar team rider achieved the second place for the four time in the last four rounds. The regularity shown this year Honda put the Aprilia riders in a difficult position to fight the championship. Win is not all.
Elías, with another factory Honda but of a different team, scored third place in a very good result for the former Aprilia driver.
The Spaniard iniciated the race from second place, but he could only keep that position for a couple of laps. Elías fought hard with De Puniet, first, and with Porto then to catch the last step in the podium.
"A third place is good, but I always want more, although the result is good por the championship. I`m happy with the work done by with the team during the weekend. We must continue working to win races and be like today in the head group", stated Elías.
It wasn`t a good day for the Argentinian Porto and the French De Puniet at Brazil.
Porto, winner here in 2002, started from the pole position but lost to seventh place in the first move, which compicated the Argentinian during the first part of the race.
Making an important effort, the Aspar - Repsol team rider recovered up to third place on lap 13th. of the 22. However the worst was about to come for Porto.
His bike started to loose perfonmance five laps later. " We don`t know exactly what happened, but the team is working on that", explained the men that dominated at Assen a week ago.
Finally the Argentinian retired in the pits very dissapointed with the result. "It`s a shame because I was fighting for the victory. I don`t know if I could get it, but at least the podium was a sure thing. There`s nothing we can do against the bad luck. All I hope is to have a good bike in the next round", he said.
De Puniet also suffered with the tires of his Aprilia and lost the leadership in the championship, but he had better luck than Porto and scored eighth place in the end.
The World Championship will continue on July 17th. at Sachsenring, Germany, scenary of the eighth round.