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Happy returns for Porto

Happy returns for Porto

Happy returns for Porto

Sebastian Porto returns to his native South America this weekend and the circuit where he scored his first victory two seasons ago. counting on huge backing from family, friends and fans this weekend at what is the closest he gets to a home race and fresh on the back of his most recent triumph.

The Argentinean heads for the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix following a commanding victory at Assen on Sunday which closed the gap to early championship pacesetter Randy De Puniet to just 23 points, with Dani Pedrosa just a point behind the Frenchman in second place.

Whilst Porto's record bodes well for this weekend, both De Puniet and Pedrosa have enjoyed mixed fortunes at Rio in recent years. De Puniet scored his first Grand Prix pole position there in 2002 but crashed out of the race in damp conditions on the 15th lap, whilst Pedrosa's fourth place in the 125cc race last year was his first finish there, having crashed in the previous two seasons.

After two consecutive podium finishes, Toni Elias will be looking to confirm his return to form and bury the nightmare of his crash at Rio last season. The Spaniard slid out of the race on the final lap while challenging Manuel Poggiali for the lead, recovering to cross the line in 18th place but effectively ending his title challenge.

Victory for Poggiali was the last time that he stood on top of the podium and the reigning World Champion knows that he is in desperate need of a repeat performance. The San Marino rider is currently in danger of mounting one of the weakest defences of a world title in recent history, having scored one podium all season and picking up just 38 points from the opening six races.

Further down the pack, Hector Faubel, Joan Olive and Chaz Davies will be hopeful of a good performance this weekend having all scored their best results of 2003 at the Nelson Piquet circuit.

Tags:
250cc, 2004

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