Brno (Czech Republic), Aug 3: Marc Marquez took another step towards successfully defending his MotoGP title as he cruised to a landmark victory at the Czech Grand Prix.
After a delayed start due to a wet track, Marquez led from pole-to-flag, though 2018 winner Andrea Dovizioso, his closest challenger for the championship, was on his tail until the Spaniard managed to pull clear at the halfway stage.
Having already dropped Alex Rins and Jack Miller, Marquez, who claimed pole in stunning fashion in qualifying, continued his relentless pace and, in the space of three laps, increased his lead to 2.2seconds.
The Repsol Honda driver, who has now finished on the podium in six of his past seven MotoGP events at Autodromo Brno, did not let up as he stormed to his 50th premier class victory, leaving him 63 points clear in the standings.
Dovizioso looked set to be caught by a resurgent Rins at one stage, though a mistake from the latter on lap 17 allowed the Italian to break clear as he halted a three-race run without a podium finish.
From looking on course to test Dovizioso for second, Rins found himself out of podium contention on the last lap - Miller fighting back to overtake on Turn 5 after a failed attempt on Turn 1.
There was disappointment for Joan Mir and Franco Morbidelli, meanwhile, as they crashed out on Turn 4 of the first lap, while Valentino Rossi - a five-time winner at Brno - finished sixth.
But the day belonged to Marquez, who picked up where he left off at Sachsenring prior to MotoGP's break to claim his sixth win of the season.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +2.452secs 3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +3.497s 4. Alex Rins (Suzuki) +4.858 5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +6.007s Maverick Vinales 6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +9.083s 7. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +12.092s 8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +13.976s 9. Takaaki Nakagami (Repsol Honda) +15.724s 10. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +16.558s
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 210 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 147 (-63) 3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 129 (-81) 4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 114 (-96) 5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 91 (-119)
1. Repsol Honda 216 2. Ducati 177 (-39) 3. Monster Energy Yamaha 163 (-53) 4. Suzuki Ecstar 131 (-85) 5. KTM 61 (-155)