Alex Marquez has claimed his first top five MotoGP finish of the year following a hard-fought battle with Ducati rider Jack Miller

Marquez, who’s been plagued by crashes and an underperforming Honda so far this year, looked back to the form that saw him clinch back-to-back podiums as a rookie during the Portimao Grand Prix.

After starting eighth - also his best qualifying of the year, Marquez gained three places on laps one and two, before managing to get past Jorge Martin for fourth on lap three. 

The LCR Honda rider immediately pulled clear from the Spaniard and 2021 MotoGP Champion Fabio Quartararo, as he homed in on Miller. 

In what was a near identical move to the one he made on Martin, Marquez used his extra pace in the final corner to get a run on the Australian heading into turn one. 

But as the race went on Miller was able to respond and eventually regain third place, albeit Marquez remained a threat until a late red flag cost him any chance of fighting back. 

Although it wasn’t a podium finish for Marquez, the former 2019 Moto2 champion made a return to parc ferme after finishing top independent. 

"Yeah, I was in parc ferme as the first independent, but today was the first opportunity to be in the parc ferme on the podium," said Marquez. 

"We were with Jack [Miller] fighting, it was a really nice battle. Jack had something more to try. 

"There was that strange feeling not to try for the podium (red flag). But, overall the weekend was really good for us; from FP1 until the race we never stopped believing which is the most important thing. 

"I want to thank all the team for the work they are doing in the good and bad moments of this year. 

"They are working every day, every night. Still we have to improve many things, but it looks like the way we are following for next year is the right one." 

The overall performance from FP1 through to the race was also enough to finish as the top Honda rider as Pol Espargaro was sixth and team-mate Takaaki Nakagami 11th.

Marquez was especially strong in the first and final sectors, which is where he aimed to challenge Miller had the red flag not come out.

Marquez added: "In the last corner I was really strong there, so to overtake him in the straight and be ahead in T2 was important because he was stronger there. 

"T3 and 4 were really close, so we wanted to play our cards there but unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to try. I had something for the final lap, but so did he."