Marc Marquez held fire on a victory lunge against Danilo Petrucci at Mugello, to ensure he beat MotoGP title rival Andrea Dovizioso.

The trio, plus Suzuki's Alex Rins, were nose-to-tail on the final lap in Italy, after Petrucci swept under Ducati team-mate Dovizioso and Honda's Marquez to retake the lead at turn one.

While close enough to try and make one of his famous last-lap attacks, the Repsol Honda star instead switched to defence mode.

"When I saw Danilo was first, me second and Dovi third [after the turn one pass on the last lap], I said, 'okay, I will not try. I will just defend'," Marquez said.

"Because if I try and we both go wide, Dovi would win the race and then it’s worse for the championship.

"So for that reason, I just stayed behind Danilo. I only tried at the end with the slipstream, but I knew it was very difficult."

The reigning five-time MotoGP champion finished a mere 0.043s from Petrucci for only his second on-track defeat of the season, after losing to Dovizioso in Qatar.

But Marquez's patience ensured he extended his world championship lead over Dovi (+0.338s) from eight to twelve points, at his and Honda's worst circuit.

"I'm happy because in our worst race we finished second and got 20 points," said the Spaniard, who qualified on pole position.

"I tried in the beginning to use my pace but I had two small moments and said, 'today is not the day [to escape]. I will follow and try on the last lap'.

"Also yesterday, if you check, I did the fastest lap with the medium front tyre. I felt much better with the medium front, but for the race this tyre was impossible for me.

"So I chose the hard tyre that I knew I would struggle with more, and was slower, but it was the only option to finish the race.

"The most important thing [for the championship] is that when we struggle and we don’t have the feeling, we are able to finish in second place, 43 milliseconds behind.

"We are there all the time, in all the conditions."

Dovizioso is the only rider within one race win (25 points) of Marquez, with Rins - who completed a top-four covered by 0.535s on Sunday - now 27 points adrift.

LCR's Takaaki Nakagami was the next best Honda in fifth, with Marquez's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finishing in 13th place.

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