Every race is an opportunity for Sebastián Porto to get a podium with the Honda 250 RSW. The Gand Prix of Portugal was the eleventh and the most clear chance in this 2003 season to take a place in the top-three. The Argentinian tried everything and even more, but he couldn`t. During the last lap, Porto tried to overtake Roberto Rolfo for the third position, but the Argentinian lost control of the Honda and arrived in the fifth final place. However Sebastian was happy: ¨We are back in the fight of the race¨, said when the competition was over.
To undestund what happended let`s start from the begining of the elventh round of the 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP).
After a good friday, Porto did a great work in a very close qualifying session. The Argentinian, who took the pole position here in 2002, suffered problems in the breaks with the bike number 1 in the practice, but the team recovered it for the qualifying session.
Porto with the experience of 119 races in the track, put the Honda in the fifth place at only 0.427 of the poleman Toni Elías, leaving behind the other (and better) factory Honda of Rolfo.
¨Despite the wind it was a good session for me. The team worked very well in the set up of the bike. We ended all very close and I`m confident for tomorrow¨, commented Sebastián when the activity was over.
On sunday the news before the race was that Elías will take place in the gird despite the important accident of saturday morning when a wild card crossed in his road during the practice. The Spanish flown to a hospital in Lisboa and said present in the main competition on sunday like if nothing happen.
From the very begining Porto shown what he can do when the bike is competitive, despite the final speed of the Honda still far away of the Aprilia. Something he suffered in the long straight of Estoril.
Elías kept the first place in the start, while Porto jumped to the fight of the lead. After some tries, Sebastian passed Elías in lap fourth and took the leadership until lap tenth, when the young Toni re-took his position and drove without problem to his third victory of the season and the fourth in the World Championship.
The dispute for a place in a podium between Porto, Manuel Poggiali, Randy de Puniet and Rolfo was what kept the eyes open. The Aprilia of Poggiali and De Puniet cut the gap in the straight, but the Argentinian with a good set up dominated his rivals in the inside split of the track until lap 19 when finally Poggiali and Rolfo overtook the Honda number 5.
¨There`s to much difference between my bike and the rest, but I gave the maxium. By mid-race everything was ok, but the engine started to loose perfonmance and I had to risk a lot in the moment of brake¨, Porto mentioned
However the Argentinian continued in the fight and two laps before the end when Poggiali passed Rolfo, Porto tried to sourprise the Italian but the speed wasn`t enough.
The last shot to get the podium was in a very close turn. Porto couldn`t overtake Rolfo and even wrost, he crashed with the other Honda and Sebastian went to the floor. He recovered the rhytmn and saw the chequered flag fifth after all.
¨I tried until last moment. I wanted to pass Rolfo, not to bump he. It was a race friction, is not the same situation of when Poggiali hit me (in the French GP)¨, he explained.
With the incident between Porto and Rolfo, De Puniet took advantage and the last place in the podium, while Rolfo only scored fourth.
¨It was a nice race. I had fun. It's a good change for the last rounds of the championship¨, completed Porto.
Now the Argentinian and the team know they are close and the chances to improve the results in the end of the season are bigger. Honda will give the team some new elements for the next race at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 20th. that Rolfo`s bike already has.
The standings has Poggiali, second today, as leader with 165 points. Elías is next with 151, while Rolfo has 148 units. Porto continues eighth with 109.