It was a case of heart over head for Marc Marquez at Aragon on Sunday, the home star gambling on victory despite never feeling comfortable on his Repsol Honda and aware that a mistake could be calamitous for his title hopes.

But the Spaniard pulled it off, being rewarded with his fifth win of the season and a significant step towards his fourth MotoGP title, having opened-up a 16-point lead ahead of next month's flyaway races.

"Today if I didn’t take the risk I would finish third. But I took the risk, because in this situation you need to put all in and try," he explained.

Marquez had already fallen in practice and qualifying, at a circuit he usually excels at, leaving him to start fifth on the grid. And things didn't get any better when the lights went out.

"I didn’t feel like I expected with the bike here all weekend. Just this morning in the warm-up I felt good, but again in the race I was struggling a lot. I was fighting against the bike all the race," he said.

"I took a lot of risk. I nearly crashed many times, I was trying to keep calm, trying to understand what’s going on. But the feeling never came back.

"Every race you take a risk, but for example at Misano I could manage a little bit for a few laps and then attack just in the end. But today the feeling was not there."

Against that backdrop, it was the motivation to win in front of his home fans and refusal to admit that he could not be fast at one of his favourite tracks that proved the decisive.

"Inside of me, on one side I was thinking, 'the feeling is not good, we need to finish the race'. But on the other side it was burning inside me: 'At your home race you must try. This is one of your favourite tracks, why can't you be competitive like last year? You must attack'. And we did.

"I started with the mentality to win here at Aragon. I didn’t start with the mentality to finish second or third. Racing at one of my favourite circuits, at home, gave me this extra motivation to keep pushing all the race.

"It was hard physically, because the bike was moving and shaking everywhere. On right corners I was feeling really critical with the front and nearly crashed a few times."

One of Marquez's near misses saw him try to pass Valentino Rossi for second, only to get out of shape and forced to steer inside race leader Jorge Lorenzo, sending him wide on the exit and to the back of the four-man lead group.

"I tried to overtake Valentino, but I did a mistake and I nearly crashed. I went wide again. I lost again all the distance. I did the effort again another time, and of course when you do this kind of effort you stress more the tyres. You stress more everything," Marquez said.

But the #93 dug deep and was able to pass closest title rival Andrea Dovizioso, then Rossi and Lorenzo, taking the lead on lap 16 and holding on to the finish in the face of a late push by team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

"All the races are difficult and different, but maybe this one it was my spirit, my style, that made the difference," Marquez said. "I was struggling, but I was pushing and giving everything."

Marquez now heads into the final four rounds with a 16 point lead over Dovizioso and 28 point lead over Maverick Vinales.

"We are leading by 16 and 28 points - it's better to have that advantage than not," he said.

"This championship is really difficult to understand, to manage. You cannot make any mistakes. You cannot have a zero in a race weekend. But on the other hand you must take the risk, like today…"


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