Moving into the final quarter of the race and the three-way fight for first became a straight Poggiali/de Puniet duel, as Battaini dropped 2secs back as the top two upped their pace to almost qualifying level.
Onto the last lap and the race was going to the wire with just 0.2secs between leader Poggiali and the chasing de Puniet, while Battaini sat in a safe third 2secs back, but 6secs clear of Porto and Rolfo, with West and Nieto dropping off.
Poggiali held firm and used his top speed advantage to good use – but de Puniet has never won a GP and wasn't going to hand the class rookie a second victory without a fight. With asphalt rapidly running out, de Angelis tried a desperate out braking manoeuvre at the end of lap hairpin, but couldn't crack 'The Pog' and was forced to sit up at the last moment to avoid contact.
That gave Poggiali some space through the final sequence of turns and the 2001 125cc World Champion duly kept his perfect 250cc record, and a 23-point championship lead over Battiani.
Further back, Chaz Davies fought back from 21st on the opening lap to take that vital – and historic - final points scoring position and his place in the GP history books. The result was hard earned with the Aprilia Germany rider closing down a 4secs deficit in the final quarter of the event.
Full results to follow...
2. de Puniet