Sebastian Porto held provisional 250cc pole position right to the chequered flag today at Phillip Island, at which point Toni Elias snatched the position from him by just 0.08secs.

On Friday, the injured Dani Pedrosa's team were given a timely boost when their second rider Porto took overnight pole. The Argentinean dedicated the result to his young 125cc team-mate after scorching to the top of the time sheets with two quick laps at the end of a session dominated by Franco Battaini.

The Italian veteran had been largely unchallenged until Porto's late effort, as Elias escaped from a high speed off-track excursion when pushing to improve on third place in the closing stages. Elias' team-mate Fonsi Nieto set the fourth fastest time to complete the provisional front row.

Series leader Manuel Poggiali, who could secure the title this weekend, was sixth fastest behind Randy De Puniet, whilst Roberto Rolfo and Sylvain Guintoli complete the second row.

Porto would improve on his Friday pace after 20-minutes of the 45, to put himself a further tenth ahead of the field, while de Puniet was the next quickest man to improve, being fourth by that stage. The Frenchman would gain a further position soon after, while Elias snatched a provisional front row just behind him.

Poggiali looked likely to be the next rider to stake his claim for a front row, but his rear wheel kicked out at high-speed under braking at Siberia, forcing the San Marinese to run wide and take to the gravel. After some frantic braking and 'paddling' with his feet, Manuel would stay upright and stop his MS Aprilia with only minor aid from the tyre wall.

Although not suffering such dramas, the likes of Battaini and de Puniet would be regularly thwarted by the very final sector after impressing in the early part of their laps. The most rational explanation being that the temperamental Island breeze had changed, and was now blowing in the riders' faces as they entered the fast main straight.

Perhaps for that reason, the majority would struggle to trouble Porto as the session came to a conclusion, but man of the moment Elias broke the jinx on his very final lap to trip the timing beam just 0.08secs under Porto for his fifth pole in a row.

Battaini slipped just one place today for an excellent third ahead of de Puniet, while the Italian's team-mate Sylvain Guintoli completed a promising day for the Campetella Aprilia team with sixth, holding off Poggiali and Rolfo.

Full times to follow...

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

 

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