ALCAÑIZ, Spain (AFP) - Spain's Jorge Lorenzo won his third race on home soil this season at the Aragon Grand Prix to cut the gap on Yahama team-mate Valentino Rossi in the fight for the world championship to just 14 points.
The Italian finished third as he failed to get pass Honda's Dani Pedrosa despite a series of attempts.
However, defending world champion Marc Marquez's hopes of a third consecutive title are all but over as he crashed out on the second lap.
For the Spaniard to clinch the title he would have to win each of the last four races, and Rossi and Lorenzo to hit a run of poor form.
Marquez started on pole at his self-confessed favourite race after setting a blistering new track record in qualifying.
However, he had already been overtaken by Lorenzo by the time he pushed too hard on the second lap and was unable to get his bike going again after running into the gravel.
"As always I made a good start, so my strategy was to ride at the maximum," said Lorenzo.
"I think it worked well because Marquez was at the limit to try and follow me. On the second lap I think he recovered some of the gap, but I didn't expect him to crash.
"When I saw that he had crashed I could breathe more deeply. Anyway I had Dani at between 2.7 and three seconds, but I couldn't open a bigger gap. I really needed to push all the race to keep this distance."
Lorenzo was then allowed to ride easily to his sixth win of the season with the real action taking place behind him as Pedrosa bravely held off Rossi.
The Italian passed Pedrosa on five occasions, but each time the Spaniard was able to respond immediately to prevent Rossi picking up an vital extra four points in the title race.
"It was really hard to focus on keeping the lap time but also closing the door because Vale was faster on many corners," said Pedrosa.
"I tried to fight, I tried to stay in front because I knew that was the key finish second. In the end, it was a good battle because I don't know how many times we overtook each other but it was nice to race to the end and finish second today."
Nine-time world champion Rossi has not won a world title since 2009 and he was left to lament what could be an important four points lost come the final Grand Prix of the season in Valencia in November.
"I tried everything, but unfortunately Dani was able to overtake me in the next corner. After I would try another time but he was always able to come back," said the 36-year-old.
"I knew it was difficult to beat Dani because he had very good pace, but I tried and I am not very happy because I needed that four points more for the second place. Today was not possible, but anyway it was a good result."