(Reuters) – Honda’s reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez won his second consecutive race and third of the season at the Czech Grand Prix on Sunday to extend his lead in the championship as team mate Dani Pedrosa finished second.
With light rain at the Brno circuit, riders started with wet tyres but as the track dried down, Marquez was one of the first to change to slicks and it paid off with the Spaniard gaining a significant lead over his rivals.
“This championship will be long and hard but these 25 points will be important,” said Marquez, who moved 14 points clear at the top.
Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales completed the podium while team mate and veteran Valentino Rossi led the race from the beginning but a delayed bike change cost him as the 38-year-old finished fourth.
“In the first laps it was difficult to make the tyres work. We did a good job and after a tough weekend a podium is a good result,” said Vinales.
Last year’s winner LCR Honda rider Cal Crutclow completed the top five.
Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro was docked three places during the race for his involvement in a pit lane incident with Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone.
Marquez has 154 points with Vinales second on 140 followed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who finished sixth, on 133.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis and Brian Homewood)