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McCoy rides wind beneath Red Bull wings.

Front row starter Jurgen van der Goorbergh made a good getaway before seeing his V-twin swallowed up the four cylinder bikes around him. The Dutchman still managed to have a good scrap with the two remaining Repsol bikes, however, as Alex Criville came off worse at the first corner scramble, and spent much of his afternoon running fast laps in an attempt to recover from an early 14th position. The reigning champion went on to take sixth, behind the second Red Bull bike of Regis Laconi, and just ahead of team-mate Tady Okada. van der Goorbergh finished eighth.

Neither Pons bike showed at the front in Portugal, with Alex Barros tenth and Loris Capirossi - still nursing hand injuries - 13th. They were separated by the Aprilia of Jeremy McWilliams and the disappointing Yamaha of former championship contender Carlos Checa. Tetsuya Harada and Mark Willis, on the Modenas, completed to point-scorers.

Back at the front, Roberts decided that discretion would be the better part of valour on a day coloured by unpredictable winds and, save for the late wake-up call posed by Rossi, was content to ride safely for second.

''It was difficult not to think of the points situation today,'' the American admitted, ''I did what was needed for the championship really. I could have done with a better start - I tried to stay with Garry, but figured that I was not able to beat him in the race today, as I was fighting all the time to make up for what we were losing on the straights. To be honest, I'm happy to get out of here with second place.''

McCoy did well to disguise his joy at taking a second win of the year, and becoming just the third man to win from pole position in 2000. With the security of a two-year deal with WCM in his pocket, the Australian is already being tipped as a potential championship contender next season,

''At the start, all I saw was Sete when he passed,'' me McCoy smiled later, ''I decided to follow him and see what I could do, then passed him when it was obvious that my bike was quicker. From then on, it was really just a case of trying to keep everything together. I made a couple of small mistake, but the gap kept growing. It was a great feeling, and one I had been waiting for for a long time.''

It really was that easy in Estoril.

Daijiro Katoh and the Gresini Honda squad dominated the inaugural 250cc Portuguese Grand Prix at the Estoril circuit, leading home championship leader Olivier Jacque by ten seconds.

In doing so, he continued his one hundred percent points scoring record in 2000 and resurrected his championship hopes as fellow contenders Shinya Nakano and Tohru Ukawa emerged relatively unscathed from an horrific looking accident.

The race looked anything but processional from the start, however, as Katoh and Ukawa, having made the best starts from their respective second and fourth place grid positions, proceeded to swap the race lead from the first corner. Behind the leading pair, Jacque, recovering from a poor start from pole position, Marco Melandri and the second Chesterfield Yamaha of Nakano completed a lead group of five riders which remained in close proximity until midway around the fifth tour.

On exiting turn two Ukawa, probably affected by the strong gusting wind, saw his Honda slide from beneath him leaving Melandri and Jacque to take evasive action to weave their way past the stricken Japanese rider. Unfortunately, Nakano, having been forced wide as his team-mate passed him, was not so lucky and, with nowhere to go, broad-sided the sliding machine and somersaulted into the gravel landing heavily on his right hand.

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