(Reuters) - Honda’s Marc Marquez celebrated his 200th start and moved within reach of a sixth MotoGP title on Sunday with a commanding win from pole position in front of his home Spanish fans at the Aragon Grand Prix.
Reigning champion Marquez now has 300 points and a lead of 98 over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso, who finished second for Ducati at the anti-clockwise MotorLand circuit near Alcaniz.
Australian Jack Miller was third for non-works Pramac Ducati.
The points tally means Marquez will wrap up his fourth successive championship with four races to spare if he wins the next race in Thailand on Oct. 6.
“I was convinced about my strategy and it’s what I did, push at the beginning and take this gap of four or five seconds and don’t push more,” said Marquez, who took the chequered flag 4.836 seconds clear of his Italian rival.
“The difference was stable and I’m happy for this victory — it looks easy but in the end we are working very hard. We crashed on Friday, so we are pushing and Dovizioso never gives up,” he added.
The victory was his eighth of the season.
Dovizioso could claim the ride of the day, with the experienced Ducati rider qualifying 10th on the grid but making the most of his bike’s power to carve his way back through the field.
“We knew we can fight for the podium and at the start I was really determined,” said the Italian, who had struggled in practice.
Miller also used his bike’s speed to good effect, passing Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales for the final podium place on the last lap to end the European part of the season on a high before heading home to Australia for a few days’ off.
“I... just tried to save the rear tyre,” he said after his third podium of the season. “I didn’t want to get sucked into trying to chase Marc down too much and destroy the tyre and just be a sitting duck at the end there.
“I just rode my pace. Mav came past but he was, I think, trying to chase down Marc and towards the end there he just started struggling off the long corners... so I just kept my cool and was able to bring it home on the podium.”
Vinales had started on the front row, alongside French Petronas Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo, who dropped back to fifth at the finish.
Italian great Valentino Rossi was eighth for Yamaha, with Britain’s Cal Crutchlow sixth for LCR Honda and Spaniard Aleix Espargaro seventh for Aprilia.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli collided on the opening lap, with the latter crashing out.
Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis and Tony Lawrence