MADRID (Reuters) - Honda’s Marc Marquez ended MotoGP’s streak of eight different winners and moved a big step closer to taking his third world title with victory at Spain’s MotorLand Aragon circuit on Sunday.
The Spaniard, who now has a 52-point advantage over Yamaha’s Italian Valentino Rossi with four races remaining, started on pole but almost fell on the third lap before coming back through the field from fifth.
Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha’s reigning world champion, finished second.
Rossi had to settle for third place after leading until Marquez passed him 12 laps from the end.
Marquez now has 248 points to Rossi’s 196 and, with 25 points for a victory, the 23-year-old is on course to wrap up the championship with two races to spare at Australia’s Phillip Island track on Oct 23.
The last eight MotoGP races had been won by different riders, a first in the top category of grand prix motorcycling, and Marquez’s victory, his fourth of the campaign, was his first since Germany in July.
“I started not so good but on the third lap I attacked because I know that my rhythm was better...but I did a mistake. When I was leading I nearly lost the front,” said Marquez of his third lap wobble.
“When I overtook Valentino I pushed two laps and then when I saw the distance was quite enough I just tried to keep the rhythm...Rossi was gaining points and now we stop and this is good,” added the Spaniard, who also set the fastest race lap.
Lorenzo, who crashed in the morning warm-up, made a late decision to go with the harder rear tire and it paid off as he passed the Italian with five laps to go.
Rossi stayed with him but blew his chance of recapturing the lead when he went out wide. He looked at his rear tire, and that on Lorenzo’s bike, after stepping off at the finish.
“We started with a different setting...but at the end I was spinning a lot,” said the Italian, who had taken the lead early on from Suzuki’s Spaniard Maverick Vinales.
“Two laps to go I did a mistake in braking and had to go wide, if not we could fight for second place. But anyway the podium is OK.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis