Jorge Lorenzo surged to an imperious Czech Grand Prix victory ahead of Marc Marquez, taking the championship lead from third-place man Valentino Rossi.
The two-champion led every lap around the Brno circuit after making a swift getaway from pole position, edging away from Marquez to seal a fifth win of the MotoGP season.
Marquez - running the hard rear tyre compared to Lorenzo's medium - held second at the start, matching Lorenzo's searing pace early on and sticking to the rear wheel of the factory Yamaha.
But the reigning champion was never close enough to attempt a pass, and as the race approached half-distance Marquez's pace began to wane.
Lorenzo had stretched out an advantage of 1.8s at the halfway mark, which steadily grew to 4.4s by the time the chequered flag fell.
"I was a little bit worried at the end of the race with the medium tyres, but little by little I was able to open a gap," said Lorenzo. "I was sliding a lot, but luckily I had a little bit more pace than Marc."
Rossi, running hard tyres front and rear, meanwhile got stuck behind the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso at the start, and had lost 2.5s to his title rivals by the time he was able to pass at the final corner on the second lap.
By half-distance he was five seconds adrift of the lead, and by the end of the race the gap between he and his teammate Lorenzo was up to 10s.
"I lost some time in the first laps, but I didn't have the rhythm," admitted Rossi. "Jorge and Marc were faster than me and I couldn't stay with them."
Andrea Iannone later passed Ducati teammate Dovizioso to finish fourth, and finished the race only three seconds behind compatriot Rossi.
Dovizioso then slipped behind a recovering Dani Pedrosa after a fierce battle on the final lap, the Spaniard, suffering from ankle pain after his practice crash, making his way up the grid from ninth.
After a strong start from fifth on the grid, Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith was unable to keep up with the sextet of factory riders ahead, taking seventh ahead of teammate Pol Espargaro.
Maverick Vinales had been running ninth for Suzuki before suffering a lowside crash late on, shortly after Cal Crutchlow had suffered a similar fate aboard the LCR Honda one position behind.
Their demise promoted Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) to the final positions in the top 10.
With Rossi finishing third, the two Yamaha riders are now level on points - Lorenzo moving ahead on countback with five victories to the Italian's three. Marquez meanwhile is 52 points back in third.
|15||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||1m00.316|
|18||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||1m05.944|
|20||Claudio Corti||Yamaha Forward||1m50.033|