Porto takes fourth in 250cc South African GP

It was just amazing the work done by the the Argentinian rider Sebastián Porto in the second round of the 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP) disputed in the circuit of Welkom, South Africa. Porto arrived to the chequered...

It was just amazing the work done by the the Argentinian rider Sebastián Porto in the second round of the 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP) disputed in the circuit of Welkom, South Africa. Porto arrived to the chequered flag in fourth position in the race won by the Aprilia factory rider Manuel Poggiali.

¨In Welkom, I believe we saw to races. One was the race did by the Aprilias, showing not only their differents drivers to win and also a very good engine. Poggiali and De Puniet had everything to win. The other competition was the one did by me and the other Honda factory rider, Roberto Rolfo¨, said Sebastián after the 42 minutes of race.

This Grand Prix was another sample, not only of the knew talent of Porto, it was a sample of the intelligent that the Argentinian is driving his Honda 250 RSW at 250 km/h.

During all the weekend in Welkom, Porto and Honda had one problem: the engine. Sebastián knew from the start that the engine of his Honda was ¨hurted¨ after tests and qualify session, where he finished fifth behind four Aprilias.

In spite that the result was the same of the season opener at Suzuka, the strategy of Porto and the Telefónica Movistar Junior Team was very different. At Japan, Porto jumped in the start from the sixth place to the leadership, position that he defended until the tyres and the brakes of the Honda started to feel the ware. Porto knew this and he choosed another strategy this time.

When the green flag appeared, the YPF driver lost from fifth place to eighth in two laps, behind Rolfo. ¨The engine didn`t respond in the first part of the race, however I didn`t loose contact with the bikes of the second group (Toni Elías,Fonsi Nieto, Anthony west and Rolfo). I wasn`t neither far of the leaders. In lap 10 the gap was only 3.462 seconds with Poggiali¨, declared Porto.

While the riders in front him were ¨used¨ their bikes, the Argentinian took care his Honda until lap 14, when Porto decided it was time to accelerate. The Telefónica Movistar Junior Team driver passed Elías first and West then. A couple of laps later was the turn of the other sub-champion 2002, Nieto. With 17 laps, Porto was fifth and Rolfo fourth. It was the moment to see the fight between the two factory Honda riders.

¨Rolfo is a very hard driver, he knows brake very well, It wasn`t easy to pass him. He had the engine more in better conditions than me. It seems to be a `different` Honda. In lap 22 Roberto passed me because I didn`t knew if I could stay fourth until the end. However it was a thing that I knew for sure: behind Rolfo I was the one that can sourprise him. Luckily the strategy worked very well and in lap 25 I could pass him¨. Like I said he is intelligent.

After 26 laps of hard race in the Welkom circuit, three Aprilias took the podium with Poggiali in first, followed by the French Randy de Puniet and the Italian Franco Battaini. Sebastián Porto finished fourth with the Honda 250 RSW that will have a new engine for the next race in Jerez on May 11th.

¨The difference with tha Aprilia is to much. On lap 20 I was at 7.884 seconds of the leader and when the race was over the gap was of 12.147 seconds. I'm happy with the points, but I'm not with the engine we have. I want a bike to fight against the Aprilia¨, completed Sebastián.

With the result took in South Africa, Porto is third in the championship with 26 points. Poggiali leads with 50 points and Battaini is second with 27.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Randy de Puniet , Fonsi Nieto , Franco Battaini , Sebastian Porto , Roberto Rolfo , Toni Elias , Manuel Poggiali