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Barros completes perfect weekend with Estoril win

Barros completes perfect weekend with Estoril win

Barros completes perfect weekend with Estoril win

Alex Barros went from pole position to victory to cap a perfect weekend for the Brazilian, having dominated every session of the Grande Premio de Portugal. In unpredictable cloudy and cool conditions at the Estoril circuit, Barros chased early leader Sete Gibernau over the opening stages before the Spaniard crashed out on the seventeenth lap.

As light drizzle began to fall, the teams prepared the riders' second machines in case they needed to come in and change to wet tyres. However, despite a precarious final three laps and a huge rear slide on the last of them, Barros held his nerve to clinch his first win in over two years.

"I'm really happy because I had been quickest in every session this weekend but this was the only one that really counted," smiled Barros, who last tasted podium champagne at Valencia at the end of the 2002 season. "Sete got away well and I didn't get a good start, but once I was up to second place I just tried to put pressure on him. In the end he crashed and it was a hard race mentally from that point on to keep my focus and stay on the bike."

Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi did their best to cut down the gap to Barros in the closing stages but wisely decided not to take any risks as they sealed podium finishes. Second place for Rossi extended his advantage at the top of the overall standings to seven points, with Barros now moving up to second in the championship, whilst third place for Biaggi represented a welcome first podium of the season for the factory HRC team.

Marco Melandri continued his excellent start to the season, following up third place in the opening round at Jerez with fourth place today after an entertaining battle throughout the race with Colin Edwards. With the American crashing five laps from the end, Carlos Checa took advantage to clinch fifth place on the Ducati after starting from the front row whilst Edwards returned to the track to bring his Yamaha home in sixth.

Nicky Hayden recovered from a bad start to take seventh after crashes for both John Hopkins and Troy Bayliss in that position, with Shinya Nakano and Loris Capirossi also making the top ten. Bayliss recovered to take twelfth behind Ruben Xaus, with Kenny Roberts, Roberto Rolfo, Toni Elias and James Ellison completing the points.


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