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Melandri looking to stay on track for title

Melandri looking to stay on track for title

Melandri looking to stay on track for title

Fonsi Nieto may have grabbed a brave 250cc victory in the Estoril rain but Italian Marco Melandri´s second place was enough to keep him on track for his first world title. Riding the MS Aprilia, he leads Nieto by 32 points going into the 22-lap race at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet circuit this weekend, and he will be buoyed by a good record at the Brazilian venue. He´s finished second and third in the last two 250cc races here and was second in the 125 race three years ago. Last weekend was Nieto´s third victory of the season aboard the Telefonica Movistar Aprilia and he will have to keep on winning to pressure Melandri if he has any chance of winning the title.

Italian Roberto Rolfo finished a superb fourth in Estoril despite suffering a ten second penalty for a start line infringement, to hold on to a comfortable third place in the championship, 30 points ahead of the in-form Sebastian Porto. Riding the Petronas Sprinta Yamaha TVK machine, the Argentinean returns to his native South America this weekend having finished on the rostrum in the last three races and started from pole position for the first time in Portugal.

Roberto Locatelli took one of only three career podiums in the quarter-litre class here last season and could be a force to be reckoned with after a run of consistent performances which have seen him finish outside the top ten on just one occasion from the last nine races he has finished. Toni Elias finished fourth here in a wet 125 race last season and will also expect to be in the podium hunt, as will Spanish compatriot Emilio Alzamora, who has two podiums here in 125 and marked his return to fitness with a promising sixth in Estoril.

250cc, 2002, Marco Melandri

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