250cc rookie Manuel Poggiali got his season back on track in style today at Mugello, taking a dominating victory after his only rival Randy de Puniet crashed out after losing the front of his Aprilia - twice.
Yesterday, de Puniet took the fourth pole position of his 250cc career after an intense battle with championship leader Poggiali.
The Aprilia pair enjoyed an intriguing duel throughout the session, setting some scintillating lap times that set them apart from the rest of the quarter-litre field.
Fonsi Nieto was third quickest but his best time was over a second slower than De Puniet's pole record 1min 53.586secs - with Poggiali 0.246 seconds behind the Frenchman.
Franco Battaini completes an all-Aprilia front row, whilst Toni Elias will start from fifth place after failing to improve his time from yesterday. Elias is joined on the second row by Honda pair Roberto Rolfo and Sebastian Porto and French Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli.
Into today and as the lined up on the grid naturally expecting the 21 lap race to start at any moment – however instead of the red lights going out, flashing amber ones appeared alongside them to indicate an aborted start... and no-one had any idea why!
A 20-lap restart was immediacy announced for five minutes time, with still no obvious reason for the original delay, and the riders were left to seek shade while they waited.
The second start fortunately passed without problem and it was points leader Poggiali who used all his works Aprilia's power to out drag his rivals to lead by the mid point of the first lap, from Elias, de Puniet, Rolfo, Nieto, Battaini, Porto and Guintoli.
Poggiali's scorching early speed soon gave him a slight lead over the rest of the field, leaving de Puniet, Elias, Nieto and Rolfo battling furiously for second.