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Stoner takes his first 250 win in Estoril

Stoner takes his first 250 win in Estoril

Stoner takes his first 250 win in Estoril

Casey Stoner has taken his first victory in the quarter litre class at Estoril, after a thrilling battle against Italian rookie Andrea Dovizioso and poleman Randy de Puniet.

The young Australian of the Carrera Sunglasses – LCR team made a blazing start from the third row to join the frontrunners, led by Aprilia Aspar's Sebastian Porto, in the early stages of the race.

As the race got underway, the Argentinean grabbed the pole spot and quickly built a steady lead in tricky conditions – damp patches on the track after this morning's showers.

Behind him, Randy de Puniet, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Alex de Angelis and Casey Stoner formed the chasing pack. After the first ten laps, with the track continuing to dry, the group closed in on Porto and Pedrosa was at his back by lap 12.

Pedrosa and Dovizioso were the first to pass Porto, who continued to lose ground and eventually took ninth.

At the front, Pedrosa and Dovizioso, two former 125 World Champions, fought for the lead but the Spaniard started to lose positions by lap 18 as he suffered visibility problems relating to his helmet's visor.

The last few laps saw an all-out tussle between De Puniet, Stoner and Dovizioso, while Pedrosa and De Angelis fought for fourth. In the first corner of the last lap, De Puniet took the lead ahead of Stoner and Dovizioso, but the Frenchman made a mistake going into the slow part of the circuit, allowing Stoner and Dovizioso to get through.

Stoner, who this year rejoins Lucio Cecchinello's team – the team in which he made his Grand Prix debut in 2002 in the 250 class, before racing in 125 the past seasons – takes his first 250 win after crashing last week at Jerez.

Dovizioso, a rookie in the 250cc class, confirmed his successful adaptation to the class by taking his first podium. De Puniet takes his first podium of the season – it's the third year in a row that he takes third at Estoril.

Dani Pedrosa again missed the podium in Portugal but scored his 16th consecutive top 4 finish and will stay on top of the World Championship classification with 38 points.

Dovizioso moved up to second ahead of Porto, who is now tied on points with de Angelis (27 points). Stoner and de Puniet both scored points for the first time and are respectively 5th and 6th in the overall standings.


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