Toni Elias continued his recent domination of the 250cc class by crushing the opposition in first qualifying at Sepang today, leading nearest rival Manual Poggiali by a massive 0.9secs.

Motegi faller Randy de Puniet set the early pace, before Sebastian Porto, then 250cc man of the moment Elias rose to the top with 30 of the 45-minutes to go, and later extend his lead after a breif retaliation from Frenchman de Puniet.

Meanwhile, point's leader Poggiali was having a decidedly different start, sitting fifth (behind Franco Battaini), nearly two seconds off Elias, with 20mins to go... at which point his MS Aprilia refused to restart as he tried to leave the pits, delaying him further.

Having no such worries was Elias, who continued to lead de Puniet and the rest of the field right into the last minute - then simply extended his advantage to a massive 1.1secs after a late tyre change.

Nevertheless, Poggiali would revive his session with a late charge to second - but was still 0.9secs from Elias - while de Puniet and Porto maintained their positions to complete the provisional front row.

Elias' team-mate Fonsi Nieto partially erased his Motegi disaster with fifth, leading Franco Battaini, championship contender Roberto Rolfo, and Yamaha mounted miracle man Naoki Matsudo.

Full times to follow...

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



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