Honda rider Marc Marquez took a big step towards winning his third MotoGP world title in 2016 after fighting back from a poor start to win the Aragon Grand Prix on Sunday.
Marquez was expected to walk away with the race after dominating practice and qualifying, only for a mistake on lap three to cause the pole-sitter to drop to fifth place.
Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales took up the mantle at the head of the pack with future Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi in tow as Marquez began his fightback.
The Spaniard deposed Andrea Dovizioso on lap five before picking off title rival Jorge Lorenzo two laps later.
Vinales lost the lead to Rossi on lap nine before slipping past Marquez and Lorenzo one lap later, with the lead finally falling to Marquez on lap 12.
From there, Marquez controlled proceedings at the front of the pack, pulling out an advantage of 2.7 seconds come the checkered flag.
Lorenzo bounced back from a crash in Sunday morning warm-up to finish second, his best result since the Italian Grand Prix in May, while Rossi rounded out the podium positions.
Marquez’s fourth victory of the season sees his lead extend to 52 points over Rossi, meaning he could mathematically wrap up the title at the next race in Japan.
Vinales finished the race fourth for Suzuki ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa, while the Espargaro brothers crossed the line seventh and eighth, Aleix ahead of Pol. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top 10.
Nicky Hayden’s one-off return to MotoGP with the Marc VDS team saw him pick up a solitary point for P15, the American rider standing in for the injured Jack Miller.
MotoGP returns in three weeks’ time at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan on October 16.