Valentino Rossi leads the world championship after coming second behind Toni Elias in the Portuguese MotoGP.
Valentino Rossi was edged into second second behind Toni Elias
Elias edged Rossi on the line, with Kenny Roberts Jr third, but the main talking point was championship leader Nicky Hayden's disastrous crash.
On lap five Hayden's team-mate Dani Pedrosa tried to pass him, overbalanced and skidded into the gravel and out of the race, taking the American with him.
Going into the final race in Valencia, Rossi leads Hayden by eight points.
"It was a great race," said Rossi.
I still didn't know whether I had got it on the line
"For sure victory would be better but with Nicky's crash we are now ahead with eight points and will concentrate in Valencia which I think will be a very good last round."
Before the race, the signs were not good for Hayden, as Rossi had a far superior record at the Estoril circuit, and in the past four races he had cut Hayden's world championship lead by 39 points.
Rossi started from pole and sprinted clear of the field, leaving team-mate Colin Edwards, Hayden and Pedrosa to dispute the places behind him.
With the Italian safely away from the trouble and main rival Hayden out of the way, it looked like the crash had robbed the race of any more drama.
But towards the end Roberts and Elias challenged Rossi's dominance, briefly taking the lead from him, before Elias pinched victory from his grasp in the dying stages, to secure the first podium place of his career, in a winning time of 46 minutes 08.739 secs.
"It is like a dream what I have done here," said Elias afterwards.
"There were several nerve wracking moments on the final laps but I held my nerve and shadowed Valentino. I still didn't know whether I had got it on the line."
But the result could have been different if Roberts had not got his calculations wrong.
"I thought I had won the race because I miscounted the laps and I searched for the checkered flag (on the penultimate lap) but it wasn't there," he admitted.
Portuguese Grand Prix result:
1 T Elias (Spn) Honda 46:08.739
2 V Rossi (It) Yamaha 46:08.741
3 K Roberts Jr. (US) KR211V 46:08.915
4 C Edwards (US) Yamaha 46:09.603
5 M Tamada (Jpn) Honda 46:27.158
6 J Hopkins (US) Suzuki 46:33.920
7 C Checa (Spn) Yamaha 46:38.087
8 M Melandri (Italy) Honda 46:40.552
9 C Vermeulen (Aus) Suzuki 46:48.856
10 R de Puniet (Fr) Kawasaki 46:50.235
13 J Ellison (GB) Yamaha 47:27.852
1 V Rossi (It) Yamaha 244 pts
2 N Hayden (US) Honda 236
3 M Melandri (It) Honda 217
4 L Capirossi (It) Ducati 209
5 D Pedrosa (Sp) Honda 202
6 K Roberts Jr (US) KR211V 126
7 C Stoner (Aus) Honda 119
8 C Edwards (US) Yamaha 117
9 J Hopkins (US) Suzuki 111
10 T Elias (Sp) Honda 106
250cc race result:
1 A Dovizioso (It) Honda 44min 30.727 secs
2 H Aoyama (JPN) KTM @ 0.015 secs
3. A De Angelis (SM) Aprilia @ 0.348 secs
250cc championship standings:
1 J Lorenzo (Sp) Aprilia 276 pts
2. A Dovizioso (It) Honda 263
3 A De Angelis (SMR) Aprilia 203
125cc race result:
1 A Bautista (Sp) Aprilia 40min 48.792 secs
2. H Faubel (Sp) Aprilia @ 15.098 secs
3 M Kallio (Fin) KTM @ 15.112 secs
125cc championship standings:
1 A Bautista (Sp) Aprilia 325 pts champion
2 M Kallio (Fin) KTM 242
3 M Pasini (It) Aprilia 185