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McCoy rides wind beneath Red Bull wings.

This incident alone resulted in the race being blown wide apart as Katoh, having been well clear of the incident, proceeded to stretch his lead lap after lap over the delayed Jacque who, in turn increased the gap over the trailing Melandri. The pattern was now set for the rest of the race with the Frenchman trailing Katoh in by almost ten seconds but recording his 8th consecutive podium finish and stretching his championship lead to a massive 27 points with four races to go. Melandri finished a further 18 seconds back in third but, in the process, became the youngest ever podium finisher in a 250cc GP, beating Mike Hailwood's record of 18 years and 2 months.

Behind the leading trio, Anthony West progressed swiftly from his twelfth place grid position to finish a lonely fourth ahead of the semi works bike of Klaus Nohles, Fonsi Nieto and leading privateer Jason Vincent. The latter two riders having endured a lengthy battle once the Britain, at one stage the third fastest rider on track, had recovered from his poor starting position of 14th before the Spaniard decisively passing Vincent on the last lap.

Nohles' high finish compensated slightly for the early demise of Aprilia Germany team-mate Ralf Waldmann who slid out of the race at the same corner as Nakano and Ukawa on lap three just as it seemed that, having set the early fastest laps, he would join the leading group of five riders. Other early fallers included Sebastian Porto and David Checa, both of whom had enjoyed their highest grid positions of the season, as the TSR-Honda rider lost it under braking into the first corner, clipped Porto's rear wheel sending them both into the gravel trap and instant retirement.

Of the other Britons, Jaime Robinson put in a very brave performance to finish in the final points scoring position following a massive accident in Friday free practice which prevented him from competing in the first day of qualifying whilst Adrian Coates retired on lap 14 with mechanical problems.

Spain's Emilio Alzamora became the first winner of a Portuguese MotoGP to be held in Portugal, as he overcame the Derbi challenge to take victory in GP125.

The Spaniard made the most of a front row start to latch on to the early battle between Derbi team-mates Youichi Ui and Manuel Poggiali, but had to be content to run between the two red bikes once he had made up the ground from third.

Ui, meanwhile, having shaken off the closer than necessary attentions of Poggiali in the opening few laps, looked set to continue his trend of winning from pole position. Able to stay out of the clutches of Alzamora's Telefonica Movistar Honda, the Japanese championship leader was still holding a small advantage when disaster struck on the tenth lap.

With Alzamora now ahead of rear-gunner Poggiali, Ui tried to raise his game slightly, only to make a mistake and see the font of his bike buckle underneath him. Sparks flying, the Derbi headed for the gravel trap, handing Alzamora and Poggiali the chance to dice for the lead, and Roberto Locatelli the opportunity to close in in the championship.

The Italian had made an atrocious start from the front row, and found himself fighting for tenth and eleventh on the opening lap. Once the field had settled down, however, the Aprilia rider was able to make up ground and, having battled through the tight-knit group disputing fourth, was presented with the final podium place as Ui crashed out.

The scrap for the lead was still just out of reach, however, and, with his tyres already showing signs of excess wear after his recovery ride, Loca seemed to settle for third. Poggiali, though, was intent on taking the fight to Alzamora and, with his team leader out of the fray, set his sights on taking a maiden race win.




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