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Elias walks to 250cc Motegi victory.

Into the closing stages and Porto's day came to a violent end when he suffered a massive highside from fourth at the approach to the underpass, 'Sebas' somersaulting onto his back before slamming into the asphalt, and was fortunate to walk away unharmed.

The YPF Honda rider's departure left Poggiali and Rolfo to fight for second, while Bridgestone mounted wild-cards Takahashi and Aoyama had closed to within 3secs of the pair with two laps to go.

Onto the last lap and Rolfo had snatched a surprise move on Poggiali and was riding like his career depended on it (which it might with the Honda bosses watching) as he wrung all he could from his comparatively underpowered factory Fortuna machine.

The Italian's efforts would duly be rewarded with second, but 5secs up the road Elias was wheeling over the line after a seemingly effortless victory – if only he hadn't fallen in Rio...

The man who'd benefited most from Elias' exit last time out was championship leader Poggiali, and the San Marinese took another step towards his second world crown with third this afternoon, while Takahashi finished off the podium for the first time in a GP with fourth ahead of Japanese championship rival Aoyama.

Meanwhile, a brave de Puniet fought the pain for sixth ahead of Yamaha mounted Matsudo and Elias' team-mate Fonsi Nieto.

Full results to follow...

1. Elias
2. Rolfo
3. Poggiali
4. Takahashi
5. Aoyama
6. de Puniet
7. Matsudo
8. Nieto

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Toni Elias during Motegi qualifying.
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