Honda’s Marc Marquez finished only third in the MotoGP Czech GP behind the Ducati riders but crucially he was ahead of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.

The Spaniard found it tough at Brno with the two Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo going great guns in the Czech GP. In fact, Rossi was also in the mix early on before fading away from the Top 3.

Dovizioso hung on to the lead with Marquez on his tail and soon Lorenzo joined the fight after clearing Rossi and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow. The Spaniard was bidding his time and conserving tyres early in the race for the final assault.

At the same time, his teammate Dovizioso had Marquez to fend off. The three had an intense battle towards the end, with Dovizioso prevailing in a Ducati 1-2 as Lorenzo managed to get Marquez in the fight.

Despite only finishing third, Marquez still managed to extend his points gap to Rossi to 49 now from 46 at the start of the weekend. It would have been more had Rossi not cleared Crutchlow on the finish line for fourth.

Looking at the title battle, Marquez said he was fine to lose points to Ducati as Dovizioso is still 68 points behind and Lorenzo a further eight behind. “We arrive a few circuits where we will be stronger, because we have very strong points on the bike,” he started.

“But we need to understand some manufacturers and some riders are faster than us. We need to understand and try to be smart. The good thing is that Valentino was already behind, so my main target was to try to increase the advantage in the championship.

“We did, we know Andrea and Jorge gained some points, but they are still 68 points behind me. So we are on the way. I’m happy because this is a circuit I normally struggle a little bit every year, and we finish so close from the victory. So this is the more important.

“We are leading the championship by 49 points, 68 with Dovi, and the target is this. If I feel strong, there will be circuits that I will be very, very strong,” he explained. Meanwhile, Dovizioso was chuffed to win his first race since Qatar.

Despite not being 100 percent happy with the bike this year, he said the Desmosedici was a bit better at Brno this year. Both the Ducati riders revealed they had to adopt a different strategy to work their tyres until the end of the race to eke the results.