Marquez strengthens title grip with victory in Brno
25 August 2013
Mighty Marc Marquez extended his lead at the top of the MotoGP World Championship with a decisive victory over key title rivals Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo at Brno.
The prodigious Spaniard now leads the standings by 26 points after 11 rounds and remains on target to be crowned world champion in his debut season in motorcycling's blue riband class.
Marquez went head to head with Factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo in the final third of the race and broke the reigning champion's challenge after the pair swapped places several times.
However, it was Pedrosa who emerged as the chief threat to Marquez when Lorenzo began to drop back out of contention.
The Honda rider demoted Lorenzo to third place and set about hunting down his young team-mate, slashing Marquez's 0.5s lead on the final lap.
Marquez, though, remained resolute as Pedrosa closed in and had enough in the tank to close out a critical victory to take control of the championship.
It was the 20-year-old's fifth win of the season and his fourth success in a row as he strengthens his grip on the world crown.
A dejected Lorenzo eventually finished in a lonely third place and his chances of retaining his title now look remote, with the Catalan lying 44 points behind Marquez.
Pole man Cal Crutchlow slid out of the race on the Tech 3 Yamaha, losing the front end as he attempted to reel in the leading trio of Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa on lap seven.
The Coventry rider remounted and bravely continued the race, eventually finishing 17th.
Lorenzo made a blistering start from the second row of the grid, storming into the lead on the opening lap with Marquez and Pedrosa giving chase.
The reigning world champion, who qualified in fifth position, set a searing pace on the M1 and began to open a gap over the Repsol Honda pair, with Crutchlow looking menacing in fourth place ahead of Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista and Yamaha's Valentino Rossi in sixth.
Bradley Smith crashed out on the fifth lap on the Tech 3 Yamaha as the British rider's hopes ended in disappointment after an excellent performance in qualifying.
The leading trio began to pull away from Crutchlow, Bautista and Rossi, with Marquez eating into Lorenzo's advantage on the RC213V.
Crutchlow was determined to hang on to the leaders but his challenge ended on the seventh lap as he appeared to tuck the front end of his M1 after pulling clear of Bautista and Rossi by half a second.
LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl was back in sixth position, over 1.2s behind Bautista and Lorenzo.
Lorenzo continued to set the pace but a three-way confrontation for the lead developed, with Marquez poised in second place and Pedrosa right in the mix.
Around the half-way point of the race reports suggested rain was in the air, but there was no let up in the battle at the front as the white flags went out at Brno.
Marquez made his first attack on Lorenzo at turn three with seven laps remaining, but Lorenzo immediately hit back, holding the inside line for the next right-hander to re-take the number one spot.
The Honda young gun made another pass at the end of the lap at turn 11, taking the lead once more with a stunning move on the brakes.
Lorenzo, though, wasn't going down without a fight and was back in front at the final chicane as the pair exchanged blows.
Marquez retaliated at turn 3 and was back in control, putting the hammer down to make a break for it as Lorenzo dropped into the clutches of Pedrosa.
Behind the top three, Bautista and Rossi were locked in a battle of their own ahead of Bradl, while Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were scrapping for seventh.
With Marquez putting some daylight between himself and Lorenzo, Pedrosa was becoming anxious to find a way past and he managed to grab second, leaving himself two laps to try and reel in Marquez.
Pedrosa put his head down and slowly reduced the gap to Marquez, but ultimately it was too little, too late as Honda's new star held on for a majestic victory, landing a telling blow in the title race.
Rossi held off Bautista for fourth with Bradl sixth, while Dovizioso got the better of his duel with Hayden for seventh.
Andrea Iannone was on his own in ninth on the Pramac Ducati followed by CRT ace Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards.
Hector Barbera and Claudio Corti were ruled out of the race on the second lap when Barbera ran into the rear of Corti's machine.