August 4, 2019 / 1:54 PM / 13 days ago

Marquez wins Czech MotoGP for 50th premier class victory

(Reuters) - Honda’s world champion Marc Marquez won the rain-affected Czech MotoGP in Brno on Sunday, his sixth victory of the season, and became only the fourth rider to achieve 50 premier-class victories.

MotoGP - Czech Republic Grand Prix - Automotodrom Brno, Brno, Czech Republic - August 4, 2019 Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez celebrates on the podium after winning the MotoGP race REUTERS/David W Cerny

Marquez, who equalled Australian Mick Doohan’s record of 58 top-class pole positions on Saturday, finished ahead of Ducati’s Italian Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller of the non-works Pramac Ducati team.

The other three riders to achieve at least 50 premier-class wins are Valentino Rossi (89), Giacomo Agostini (68) and Doohan (54).

“It’s important but I don’t like to compare, they are legends of this sport,” Marquez told BT Sport when he was informed of his milestone. “I’m just going to keep pushing... keep the same mentality, same ambition from the beginning until the end.”

Spaniard Marquez now leads the MotoGP championship with 210 points, 63 ahead of second-placed Dovizioso (147) while Danilo Petrucci, who finished eighth in Brno, is third (129).

Wet track conditions led to a delayed start after the entire field chose to run on slick tyres and when the race got underway there were retirements in the opening lap after Joan Mir and Franco Morbidelli collided and ended up in the gravel.

The lead pair of Marquez and Dovizioso were closely followed by Alex Rins and Miller while Italian great Valentino Rossi, who finished sixth, was involved in a battle with Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow in the chasing pack.

“I was really concentrated from the beginning, (there were)some wet patches on Turn 1, but I decided to start and keep my rhythm,” Marquez added.

“I saw that Dovi was behind me, I just keep pushing and, when 10-11 laps remained, (that) is when I had the warning, because it’s the time that I started to push more.”

The top four riders were separated by just one second but, once the sun came out, Marquez slowly pulled away from the pack and extended his lead to 2.5 seconds over Dovizioso with four laps to go.

“It was a strange race, really fast at the beginning... but in the middle of the race he (Marquez) pushed a bit more on the braking and I couldn’t brake harder,” Dovizioso said.

“I wanted to stay to the end with Marquez but his way of riding is a bit different.”

Behind them, Rins and Miller were locked in a tense battle for the final podium position and the latter pounced on the Suzuki rider with two laps to go before Rins fought back to maintain his position.

However, a patient Miller, who qualified second on Saturday, moved up to third right at the end when he passed him at Horsepower Hill for the Australian’s second podium finish of the season.

The next race is the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on Aug. 11.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon

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