Highlights - Pedrosa wins Portugal MotoGP (UK users only)
By Azi Farni
BBC pit-lane reporter
The Estoril MotoGP won by Dani Pedrosa may not have been as dramatic as the race in Jerez but there are many talking points nonetheless.
The Valentino Rossi-Casey Stoner clash has been overshadowed - temporarily, presumably - by Marco Simoncelli's spat with Jorge Lorenzo.
It is the re-emergence - after some crafty stirring from journalists - of an old 250cc rivalry and involved the digging up of Lorenzo's "aggressive riding" attack on Simoncelli from Valencia last year.
The war of words between the pair,
which featured Simoncelli's classic "I will be arrested" retort, grabbed a lot of headlines but what was not as widely reported was the way Lorenzo silenced the journalists' laughter with a very stark and poignant reminder of the real dangers involved.
"We are playing with our lives, we are riding at 300kmh on very powerful and heavy bikes," said the reigning world champion. "It's a dangerous sport and you have to think about what you do."
It is a shame that an early crash for Simoncelli meant the battle with Lorenzo on the track did not happen, although this is a rivalry that will continue through the season.
Simoncelli's premature exit might have put a sly smirk on some of the riders' faces but a total of four DNFs meant only 13 riders finished the race on Sunday.
With the rule changes kicking in next year, all the factories will have one eye on 1000cc spec machines while they continue with this year's evolutions. Any big changes now will no doubt be working alongside development of next year's bike.
Dwindling numbers of bikes on the grid is exactly what Dorna, the commercial rights holders of MotoGP, and the FIM, the sport's governing body, are trying to address with the 1000cc rule change for 2012.
The announcement in Estoril that 16 new teams not currently participating in MotoGP have submitted applications to race
in the new class was welcome news.
Fourteen of those teams, representing 21 riders, have been invited to submit further details by 14 May, at which time they will be accepted or declined. The crunch date, though, will be 3 June, the deadline for teams to pay their security deposit, when the numbers of applicants will no doubt fall.
While not all teams will put their money where their mouths are, it is a significant number of early entries, which means the next few months will no doubt contain many rumours about which new teams, manufacturers and riders could be on the grid in 2012.
One team that will almost certainly be expecting to be on the final list is the Marc VDS MotoGP team,
who did a second shakedown of their 2012 spec 1000cc bike on Tuesday with test riders Damian Cudlin and Carmelo Morales.
Current Moto2 - and potential future MotoGP - rider Scott Redding is also due to get some laps on the MVDS bike, a Suter development with a leased BMW engine.
BMW are one of the manufacturers rumoured to be taking a place on the grid in 2012. While there is no official word on direct participation in the new class, this test gives them a good chance to evaluate their performance on the track without official involvement.
Danid Pedrosa is second behind Jorge Lorenzo in the standings after three races
Before the MVDS/Suter test, there was an official MotoGP test on Monday, allowing the current teams to give their latest evolution 800cc 2011 machines a run-out.
Simoncelli provided the
"what could have been" moment with the day's fastest time but there were a few absentees.
Randy De Puniet went back to France for further check-ups to assess the pain in his left knee following surgery to take out a screw, while Hector Barbera skipped the test after he cracked a vertebrae in his crash at Estoril.
Injured pair Dani Pedrosa and Alvaro Bautista only managed 17 laps each following their respective recent operations, with test rider Nobuatsu Aoki on call to share duties at Suzuki.
For Yamaha, the rumoured new engine never came but it was still a positive test for Lorenzo. He finished second fastest, feeling there was an improvement on rear traction.
On the other side of the garage, it was perhaps time for a bit of reflection in the Ben Spies camp.
The American's race in Estoril ended in a crash after a blunder on the starting grid caused numerous mistakes and eventually one distraction too many.
It was a positive test for Stoner, who recovered from a back problem during the race to take the third-fastest time. He tested a new clutch that seemed to improve engine braking and eliminate the problem that meant he was unable to restart after the crash in Jerez.
Behind him and just six-tenths of a second off the pace was Cal Crutchlow, putting in another strong performance that has so far exceeded expectations in his debut year. Team boss Herve Poncheral has understandably been singing the Briton's praises and lots of people in England are starting to get a little bit excited for his future in the class.
Finishing fifth-fastest overall, Rossi and the Ducati factory seemed to have turned a corner in their fight against the Desmosedici bike's front-end problems, although it remains to be seen how long and tricky it will be for them to be competitive. Rossi and team-mate Nicky Hayden tried a modified chassis and
engine with a "smoother power delivery".
With the rule changes kicking in next year, all the factories will have one eye on 1000cc spec machines, while they continue with this year's evolutions. Any big changes now will no doubt be working alongside development of next year's bike.
The first official 1000cc test on the Monday after Mugello will be interesting, not only to see for the first time how the four factories' 2012 spec machines fair against each other but also to gauge how similar they are to this year's machines.
A few words about Yuki Takahashi's Moto2 podium on Sunday are appropriate. Many people were asking whether he would turn up at Estoril, following the death of his brother Koki - also a racer - the week before, but everyone in the paddock was sure he would.
Our Japanese colleagues and friends in the paddock have been through some tragic situations recently, with the loss of Shoya Tomizawa last year and the recent earthquake and tsunami that caused such devastation in parts of Japan.
The "Japanese way" of bravely facing adversity in the darkest of moments has been learned the world over. There was not a single person in the paddock who did not want the success for Yuki and who did not feel
overwhelmed by his emotions in parc fermé and on the podium.
This column started with rivalries and love lost but, personal relationships aside, everybody involve in MotoGP travels this championship as one big family, happy or not. It is impossible to know all 3,000 plus permanent members of the paddock personally but in adverse times, everyone comes together.
In Estoril, the sentiment was one of upmost respect and admiration for Yuki's dedication both on and off the track.