Toni Elias took 250cc pole position at Estoril without completing a single lap in this afternoon's final qualifying session - the young Spaniard choosing to sit it out after suffering a nasty collision in morning practice.

Yesterday, after taking his first podium in six races last time out at Brno, Elias had hinted he was ready to maintain a title challenge with an impressive provisional pole. The Telefonica backed rider was a comfortable 0.481 seconds quicker than nearest rival Randy de Puniet, setting his best time halfway through the session before reverting to set-up work on his Aprilia.

Whilst Elias was held up by a slower rider in the late push for lap times, Manuel Poggiali and Roberto Rolfo were able to secure front row slots in the final few minutes, restricting Fonsi Nieto to fifth.

Sebastian Porto crashed with just fifteen minutes remaining but made it back to the track to set the sixth fastest time on his Honda. Team-mates Franco Battaini and Sylvain Guintoli complete the provisional second row.

However, 20-year-old Elias was knocked off his Aprilia by a wild-card rider at the end of today's free practice session and suffered concussion and a nasty cut to his chin as a result. After deciding not to ride this afternoon, Toni was taken to a hospital in Lisbon for precautionary tests.

However, none of the other riders were able to match Elias' time from yesterday, with second placed De Puniet only able to come within 0.203 seconds of the Spaniard.

De Puniet's French compatriot Sylvain Guintoli will make his first ever front row start from third place, just ahead of series leader Manuel Poggiali. Fonsi Nieto suffered a mechanical problem when trying to improve his times at the end of the session and will start from the back of the second row in eighth place behind Sebastian Porto, Franco Battaini and Roberto Rolfo.

Full times to follow...

1. Elias
2. de Puniet
3. Guintoli
4. Poggiali
5. Porto
6. Battaini
7. Rolfo
8. Nieto

 

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