In a race that saw one Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa, look to have solved his physical problems with a confident race victory - another, Casey Stoner, suffered an unexpected 'set-back'.
After wining round one, then being taken out at Jerez, Stoner got his 2011 MotoGP campaign back on track with a solid third place at Estoril.
After some near misses on the opening lap, Stoner held third from the first lap to last - crossing the line 4.5sec from runner-up Jorge Lorenzo and 9sec clear of Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
But an old back injury returned to haunt him during the second half of the 28 lap race. The Australian has had back problems since a crash at the 2003 Catalan GP.
"We had a pretty good start to the race but Dani [Pedrosa] moved across and I had to hit the brakes and back off so after that I was challenging Marco [Simoncelli] for third position in the first turn and he cut me off which I'm not so happy about, then in turn 4 he crashed and I lost the tow to Dani and Jorge,” said Stoner of the hectic start to the race.
“I didn't really have a lot of confidence in the first laps with the rear tyre, it didn't seem to want to work so well especially on the left side, I nearly crashed a few times so I slowed down a little.
“Then during the race at some point, I felt my back completely lock up on me and I couldn't move for three or four corners, I was struggling to do anything and had no breath.
“I thought I had to go back to the garage, but thankfully within half a lap it eased up a little, got better and we managed to finish so I'm very happy to stay in third place today".
Stoner is third in the championship, but an increased 24 points behind Lorenzo.