(Reuters) -Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo stormed to victory at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday to claim his fifth win of the season and extend his lead at the top of the MotoGP world championship standings.
The French rider, who started from third on the grid, took the lead on lap five and opened up a three-second gap on the chasing pack before cruising home in style to tighten his grip on this season’s championship.
The victory extended Quartararo’s lead over Suzuki’s reigning world champion Joan Mir, who finished ninth, to 65 points at the top of the standings.
Quartararo dedicated his victory to the supporters who had turned out in force to watch the race.
“It’s great to see the fans and share the victory with them,” he said. “I can take more risks now, what I want to do is fight for victories. With a 65-point lead I don’t need to think about the championship.”
Mir’s Suzuki team mate Alex Rins came second for his first podium finish of the season, with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro holding off Jack Miller on the final lap to come third and claim his team’s first-ever MotoGP podium.
“It’s like a dream. I’m super happy,” Espargaro said. “I always believed in the project. I want to enjoy the moment but, believe me, I want more and more. Now that we’re in a good moment, we have to keep working hard.
Pole-sitter Pol Espargaro took the lead at the start of the race, with his brother Aleix close behind in second, before Quartararo made his move and began pulling clear. Pol finished in fifth place.
Honda’s six-times premier-class winner Marc Marquez crashed out in the first lap along with Pramac Ducati’s rookie rider Jorge Martin after a collision between the two.
“I want to apologise to Martin because it was completely my fault,” Marquez said. “It was the first lap and I was too optimistic. I apologise to Martin and the Pramac team, but races are sometimes like this and today it was my mistake.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)