Manuel Poggiali broke the front fairing of his Aprilia as he smashed his first down in delight after clinching his first win of the season in the 250cc Rio Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion had not stood on the top step of the podium since victory at this circuit last season but announced his return with a bang, leading from the fourth lap under intense pressure from Dani Pedrosa.

A mechanical problem for Randy De Puniet, which saw the Frenchman drop out of the battle for lead positions at the halfway stage and eventually cross the line in eighth, means that Pedrosa now leads the championship by eleven points.

Sebastian Porto also suffered a mechanical problem when pushing Poggiali and Pedrosa for the lead with just four laps remaining, failing to pick up any points at all and losing important ground in third place in the rider standings.

Third place in today's race went to Toni Elias, who held off a late challenge from Alex De Angelis to seal the final podium position.

250cc Rio Grand Prix - top ten:

1. Poggiali (Aprilia)
2. Pedrosa (Honda) +0.076secs
3. Elias (Honda) +3.792secs
4. De Angelis (Aprilia) +4.678secs
5. Nieto (Aprilia) +20.393secs
6. Aoyama (Honda) +20.576secs
7. Rolfo (Honda) +30.399secs
8. De Puniet (Aprilia) +34.742secs
9. Debon (Aprilia) +36.021secs
10. Battaini (Aprilia) +36.476secs

13. Davies (Aprilia) +53.576secs