BRNO, Czech Republic: Marc Marquez’s hopes of setting a record 11 straight MotoGP wins ended yesterday as Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa of Spain won the Czech Republic Moto GP in Brno.
Pedrosa, who also won at Brno in 2012, finished the 22 laps on the dry 5.4-kilometre (3.36-mile) circuit in 42min 47.800sec, ahead of Yamaha duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, with Marquez finishing fourth.
Marquez was looking to become the first premier class rider ever to win the 11 opening races of a season.
Italian legend Giacomo Agostini won the opening 10 races of the premier class season in 1968, 1969 and 1970 at a time when he dominated the sport.
However, no one has ever won the first eleven -- in part because Agostini’s perfect season in 1968 comprised only 10 events.
Marquez, who failed to make it to the podium for the first time since Australia last year, now tops the championship with 263 points, 77 ahead of Pedrosa and 90 ahead of Rossi.
As often this season, Marquez got off to a poor start from pole position, dropping to sixth place.
Lorenzo soon settled down at the front, followed by Pedrosa who overtook him on the sixth lap to nurse his lead with Lorenzo never really getting close enough to fight back.
“I didn’t plan the race in this way but fortunately Jorge... opened a gap immediately so I had to change my plan and then push to the limit,” said Pedrosa.
“I kept my rhythm until the end but in the end I struggled with my rear grip and was not able to go out strong in the corners,” added the 28-year-old who finished 0.410sec ahead of Lorenzo.
“Finally we beat Marc, but unfortunately it wasn’t me, it was Dani this time,” said Lorenzo.
“After two laps I started feeling not as well as in the first laps and Dani cut me and passed me... and went away.”
“The bike wasn’t so bad at the end of the race so I tried, pushed to the limit to cut him, but it was too late,” added Lorenzo.
Marquez moved up to third after a few laps but instead of narrowing the gap on the two leaders, he found himself under heavy pressure from Rossi.
Shrugging off a heavy crash in Saturday’s practice in which he injured the little finger on his left hand, Rossi, who has won five premier class races in Brno, breezed past Marquez midway through the race. He finished more than five seconds ahead of the championship leader for his 190th podium finish in all classes of motorcycling Grand Prix.
Earlier yesterday, Spanish Moto 2 championship leader Esteve Rabat won the race ahead of Finnish team-mate Mika Kallio and Germany’s Sandro Cortese.
In Moto3, Frenchman Alexis Masbou took his first career victory after beating Italy’s Enea Bastianini and Britain’s Danny Kent in a nerve-wracking finish that saw 16 riders cross the finish line within two seconds.