Rookie star Marc Marquez's third victory of the season, just before the summer break at Laguna Seca, saw him extend his title lead over Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.

Pre-season favourites Pedrosa and Lorenzo have now slipped 16 and 26 points behind Marquez - but it would have been much worse for them had they not braved the pain of recent collarbone injuries to claim fifth and sixth in the US GP.

When jokingly asked if he felt guilty for 'making' Pedrosa and Lorenzo ride injured, in order to limit the title damage, Marquez replied:

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"No! I don't say to them 'come here because you need to take some points for the championship'. You never want any bad moments for any riders, but sometimes it is like that.

"They took a risk to come here. Dani took eleven points and Jorge ten. I think they did a very good job, because even [injured] Dani was only nine seconds behind me and Lorenzo twelve seconds.

"For that reason I'm interested to make a race with them when they are at 100 percent. Then we will see the reality - where is my level."

Injuries to his main rivals or not, Marquez has delivered a stunning start to his MotoGP career, with eight podiums - including three wins - from the nine events. It would have been nine podiums had he not slipped out of second place with just three laps to go at Mugello.

"I'm very surprised because I finished all the races on the podium except Mugello, where I did a stupid mistake in the race. But apart from that it's been very good," said 20-year-old Marquez, when asked to review the start of his premier-class career.

"I have had some crashes that maybe in the future we can save, but the most important thing is that the crashes have been in practice. We will review the videos and all the information from this first part of the season and try to improve for the second part."

The second half of the 2013 MotoGP season starts at Indianapolis on August 16-18.

The only rider to win the premier-class title as a rookie was Kenny Roberts in 1978. 'King Kenny' took four wins and eight podiums during that ten-round season.