Finally what Sebastián Porto was wanting so much arrived. The 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP) disputed its season close round at the Valencia circuit. Is the end for a terrible year for the only Argentinian ryder that compites in the World Championship. The good news for Porto was the anounce that he will race as a factory Aprilia driver in 2004. No doubt the best news for him in a long time.
Sebastián arrived to Valencia with the hope of finish his partership with Honda in the best way, but again suffered with the un-competitive Honda 250 RSW and reached sixth position in the race won by Randy de Puniet, and where Manuel Poggiali with the third place took the World Championship in the 250cc over Roberto Rolfo, the other men in the dispute.
¨The most important was to arrive. During the two practice days we couldn`t find the set-up of the bike, but we improved a little in the warm-up¨, mantioned after the race.
Porto started from ninth after a difficult qualifying session, and during the 27 laps of speed fought for a place in the top ten of the classification.
One more time Porto suffered with problems in the front of his bike that he explains: ¨In race, a bad tire complicated us and put me hard to follow the rhytmn of competition, so a sixth place with this situation is not that bad¨, he said.
Two races in one shown the 250cc competition. One was the argued for the leadership between de Puniet and Toni Elías.
The Frenchman started from the pole position and led during 25 of the 27 laps. The only moment that Elías enjoyed the first place in front his people was when Randy made a mistake that Toni took advantage by overtaking the other Aprilia driver. However de Puniet knew very well his condition of faster that Elías and re-took the leadership leaving behind the aspirations of the thousands of Spanish people that wanted a victory of his native driver.
The other race was the one for the title definition between both contenders, Poggiali for Aprilia and Rolfo as the Honda hope.
But that hope for Honda was ended by Honda itself. The Italian was very complicated during the three days of activity with the engine of his bike and never could fight against Poggiali who drove a clean and smooth race to finish third and secure his second World Championship in his short carreer. Poggiali was also champion in 125cc. in 2001.
All that Rolfo could did was complete the race in seventh, 35 seconds behind the winner. Is not the way of achieve a World Championship. However two victories and second in the standings is not bad for him in his best season in the World Championship.
With 20 years old, Manuel became the third youngest 250cc. Champion, only beats him by Marco Melandri and Valentino Rossi.
Poggiali, native of San Marino, won the title in his first season in the 250cc. category.The four victories in Japan, South Africa, Italy and Brazil were very important, but of course the support of Rossano Brazzi, an Italian that knows more than well his Aprilia was the key of Poggiali's great season.
The most espectacular race for Poggiali was the season opener where starting from 23h. gave an excellent sample of talent and took that race at Suzuka, nothing less.
About Porto, Honda is in the past and Aprilia is the future for him. ¨I`m happy, because this is what I wanted for 2004. I`m not complaining about Puig`s team, but if I would continue with Honda, things would be as this year. The chance of Aprilia we already had it for 2003, but that bike was finally for Randy (de Puniet). Because of an sponsor matter, we decided go to Honda.
Now the Argentinian has time to think, work and be ready for on April 18th. start another opportunity for him in the World Championship.
With 25 years, next season will be the ninth for Porto and after 124 races is the drievr with more experience between his rivals.
¨I can`t say this is my last chance of take a World Championship, but yes that is the best I ever had¨, concluded Porto.
A phrase of Jan Wetteveen, of Aprilia is at least a good start: ¨Porto will have the same posibilities of the other factories drivers. We`ll give all the same elements¨. Something we all hope.