Nico Terol led every lap at Estoril to take his third win in a row at the start of the 2011 125cc World Championship.

The Spaniard aced the start and was over a second clear before the end of the first lap, and his rivals had no answer.

The fireworks were provided by a race long battle for second. Home favourite Miguel Oliveira grabbed the advantage by sprinting past Sandro Cortese at the start but the German was back in front by the time they entered the corner next time around.

The Portuguese teenager began to drop down the order and it was Hector Faubel who took up the challenge. The second Aspar Aprilia was right on the tail of Cortese by half distance.

Faubel dived past into turn one on lap 12 but Cortese returned the favour three laps later. While they were swapping positions, an inspired Maverick Viñales, who started the race in 11th, was homing in on the back of them, bringing Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger with him.

With seven laps to go, the 16 year old had reduced the three second gap to nothing and on lap 19 produced a stunning overtaking manoeuvre, drafting past both Cortese and Faubel in one move.

Roles were reversed on the following lap as Viñales was shuffled back to fourth but just when it seemed the experienced heads would break away, Faubel crashed out at turn six.

The grounded Aprilia held up Vinales and Zarco, giving Cortese a cushion that he maintained to the chequered flag, but the battle for the final podium position raged on.

In the end, it went down to the final metre of the race, as Viñales dived out of Zarco's slipstream and crossed the line side by side with the Frenchman. The timing screen initially gave it to Zarco, and after a video review, the AvantAirAsiaAjo rider was confirmed in third, with Vinales missing out on his first podium finish by 0.002s.

Elbow to elbow Vinales (25) and Zarco battle to the finish line

Folger ended up a distant fifth while Efren Vazquez finished sixth ahead of the fading Oliveira. Luis Salom got the better of another photo finish with Adrian Martin for eighth, with Simone Grotzkyj completing the top ten for Phonica Racing.

Teammate Taylor Mackenzie was forced to watch the race from the sidelines after a shoulder injury sustained in qualifying but there was still positive news for British fans.

Despite being penalised for a jump start, Danny Kent stormed back through the field to take the final point for 15th, denying Danny Webb in the process. The Mahindra rider enjoyed a lengthy battle with Niklas Ajo and Harry Stafford but narrowly missed out on his first points in 2011.

Stafford also missed out on his first world championship points after taking a trip through the gravel, forcing him to retire five laps from the end.

Race Result: 23 Laps

Pos Rider Team Time/Gap Points
1 Nico Terol Bankia Aspar Team 41:21.986 25
2 Sandro Cortese Intact-Racing Team Germany +3.671 20
3 Johann Zarco Avant-AirAsia-Ajo +4.466 16
4 Maverick Viñales Pev-Blusens-SMX-Paris-Hilton +4.468 13
5 Jonas Folger Red Bull Ajo MotorSport +12.140 11
6 Efren Vazquez Avant-AirAsia-Ajo +20.304 10
7 Miguel Oliveira Andalucía Banca Civica +25.905 9
8 Luis Salom RW Racing GP +46.316 8
9 Adrian Martin Bankia Aspar Team +46.395 7
10 Simone Grotzkyj Phonica Racing +49.447 6
11 Zulfahmi Khairuddin AirAsia-Sic-Ajo +51.071 5
12 Sergio Gadea Pev-Blusens-SMX-Paris-Hilton +1:00.365 4
13 Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta-Centro-Seta +1:00.479 3
14 Niklas Ajo TT Motion Events Racing +1:11.738 2
15 Danny Kent Red Bull Ajo MotorSport +1:13.752 1
16 Danny Webb Mahindra Racing +1:15.357  
17 Hiroki Ono Caretta Technology +1:18.155  
18 Marcel Schrotter Mahindra Racing +1:27.900  
19 Giulian Pedone Phonica Racing +1:32.623  
20 Joan Perello Matteoni Racing +1:35.088  
21 Luigi Morciano Team Italia FMI +1 Lap  
22 Kevin Hanus Team Hanusch +1 Lap  
23 Peter Sebestyen Caretta Technology +1 Lap  
24 Sarath Kumar WTR-Ten10 Racing +2 Laps  
Hector Faubel Bankia Aspar Team +4 Laps  
Harry Stafford Ongetta-Centro-Seta +5 Laps  
Jasper Iwema Ongetta-Abbink-Metaal +11 Laps  
Francesco Mauriello WTR-Ten10 Racing +15 Laps  
Louis Rossi Matteoni Racing +17 Laps  
Alberto Moncayo Andalucía Banca Civica +19 Laps  
Taylor Mackenzie Phonica Racing Non Starter  
Alessandro Tonucci Team Italia FMI Non Starter  

 

Riders Championship (After Round 3: Portugal)

Pos Rider Team Wins Points
1 Nico Terol Bankia Aspar Team 3 75
2 Sandro Cortese Intact-Racing Team Germany   50
3 Jonas Folger Red Bull Ajo MotorSport   42
4 Johann Zarco Avant-AirAsia-Ajo   42
5 Efren Vazquez Avant-AirAsia-Ajo   30
6 Sergio Gadea Pev-Blusens-SMX-Paris-Hilton   20
7 Maverick Viñales Pev-Blusens-SMX-Paris-Hilton   20
8 Danny Kent Red Bull Ajo MotorSport   17
9 Luis Salom RW Racing GP   16
10 Miguel Oliveira Andalucía Banca Civica   15
11 Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta-Centro-Seta   12
12 Taylor Mackenzie Phonica Racing   11
13 Adrian Martin Bankia Aspar Team   11
14 Zulfahmi Khairuddin AirAsia-Sic-Ajo   11
15 Hector Faubel Bankia Aspar Team   10
16 Alberto Moncayo Andalucía Banca Civica   9
17 Hiroki Ono Caretta Technology   8
18 Simone Grotzkyj Phonica Racing   8
19 Jasper Iwema Ongetta-Abbink-Metaal   4
20 Marcel Schrotter Mahindra Racing   3
21 Louis Rossi Matteoni Racing   3
22 Niklas Ajo TT Motion Events Racing   2
23 Josep Rodriguez Wild Wolf-Racc-MS Caretta   1