The scene has been set for a final race showdown in the 250cc class after Andrea Dovizioso took victory at Portugal with an inspired ride.
The Italian's consistency in the category has never been in doubt, but he firmly established himself as a big race rider when the chips were down. Needing victory to give himself the best possible chance of edging out Jorge Lorenzo for the title this season, Dovizioso proved himself up to the task to take his second victory of 2006.
He was given a tough time in the final stages by Hiroshi Aoyama, who was looking for consecutive victories in the quarter-litre category and exchanged a series of daring overtaking manoeuvres with the Humangest Honda rider before finishing second by just 15 thousandths of a second.
Alex de Angelis, still looking for his first victory, stalked the front two waiting to pounce on any mistake, but finally had to settle for yet another podium spot. He came in ahead of Roberto Locatelli, who had led for seven laps after a flying start from pole.
Lorenzo, who could have crowned himself champion today, wasn't able to achieve the result needed to clinch the crown after coming in fifth, meaning the gap now stands at 12 points. If he is to lift his maiden title this season, then it will come in his homeland at Valencia in two weeks time.
250cc top ten – Portuguese Grand Prix:
1. Dovizioso (Honda)
2. H. Aoyama (KTM) +0.015secs
3. de Angelis (Aprilia) +0.348secs
4. Locatelli (Aprilia) +1.842secs
5. Lorenzo (Aprilia) +6.402secs
6. Takahashi (Honda) +9.619secs
7. Simoncelli (Gilera) +14.303secs
8. Guintoli (Aprilia) +17.222secs
9. West (Aprilia) +34.819secs
10. Barbera (Aprilia) +37.976secs