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Last year at Rio

Last year at Rio

Last year at Rio

Toni Elias effectively crashed out of the chase for the 250cc World Championship title when he slid off his Aprilia just three corners from the end of the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix last year. Elias' slip-up allowed Manuel Poggiali to take his fourth chequered flag of the season and extend his series lead to 22 points, with Roby Rolfo moving up to second place and Randy De Puniet relegating Elias to fourth.

The race had been a close cat-and-mouse contest between the breakaway Aprilia duo of Poggiali and Elias, with the latter making an aggressive move to steal the lead midway through, almost forcing Poggiali onto the grass. The San Marino rider lost several seconds but slowly chipped away at the gap until his was on the back wheel of his rival to set up an interesting last lap encounter.

The telling moment arrived at the end of the long straight when Elias, under pressure, ran into the turn too fast and lost the front end barely 10 seconds away from a guaranteed podium.

Around 12 seconds behind the drama, Roby Rolfo and Randy De Puniet had been taking part in an identical duel, in which the Honda man eventually triumphed and was elevated to the second step thanks to Elias' error.

250cc, 2004

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