Brno (Czech Republic) (AFP) - Honda's Marc Marquez led a Spanish podium sweep at the Czech GP on Sunday to extend his MotoGP world championship lead with a second straight win.
Dani Pedrosa was second almost 13 seconds back ahead of Maverick Vinales in third and nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi in fourth after a race.
"I could have gone faster but there was no need to do so, I had it won and I'm not taking those risks anymore," said the three time world champion who however celebrated by standing on his bike as he rode past the main stand to an ovation.
"These kind of races (mixed weather) can be very challenging and you have to remain focussed," Marquez said after negotiating his tyre change early in a race where wet conditions quickly turned to dry.
The result leaves the overall standings on a razor's edge as Marquez leads with 154 points ahead of Vinales on 140, Andrea Dovizioso is third on 133, Rossi fourth on 132 and Pedrosa has 123 in fifth.
In his third win of the season, defending world champion Marquez was in truly imperious form, starting from pole and dominating, holding his nerve during an early change from wet tyres as he temporarily dropped down the field before gradually lap after lap extending his lead.
After also winning in a similar fashion at the German GP last time out Marquez has galvanised the defence of his title that was in danger of being a landslide for the Yamaha tyro Vinales who took a big early lead but who is now second after ten of 18 races.
"This weekend was very tough, then luckily on the grid the sun started to come out," said Vinales.
"On the rain tyre I was feeling good, but I was already thinking after two laps maybe I should go in but there were too many people, so maybe I went in a lap too late.
"Warming up the slicks was difficult but then the bike felt good again. I was feeling great in the last laps and I?m happy to have that back. It?s important to be back on the podium for confidence and motivation."
Having three Spaniards on the podium was a fine tribute to 13 time world champion Angel Nieto who died on Thursday aged 70 after a quad bike accident last week.
Ahead of the day's proceedings riders and teams from all categories gathered behind a banner saying 'Gracias Maestro' and observed a minute's silence.
Earlier Swiss Kalex rider Thomas Luthi emerged victorious from the rain interrupted Moto2 GP as championship leader Franco Morbidelli finished eighth.
And Spain's Juan Mir led a Honda sweep in the Moto3 race to register his sixth win of the season from ten.