- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

ALCANIZ, Spain (AP) - Jorge Lorenzo took the lead at the start of the Aragon MotoGP on Sunday and held on for victory after Marc Marquez’s early fall to move closer to points leader Valentino Rossi in the title race.

Marquez went down just two laps into the race while trying to reach Lorenzo and had to retire. Rossi was edged out of second after a fierce battle with Dani Pedrosa on the final lap.

Lorenzo moved to within 14 points of Rossi with four races to go. Two-time defending MotoGP champion Marquez, who abandoned for the fifth time in 14 races, dropped 79 points behind Rossi in third place. The 22-year-old Marquez was trying to become the youngest rider to reach 50 grand prix wins.

Lorenzo won his 31st Moto GP race, and 60th overall in all categories, a feat only four other riders have attained.

“It was a good start, it was important to get ahead of Marc and lead the first laps,” the 28-year-old Lorenzo said. “It was very hard to stay in front so when I saw that Marc had crashed I started breathing a little easier. He was doing all he could to stay close and I think he ended forcing too much.”

Lorenzo started second with his Yamaha, behind pole sitter Marquez, but was already in front of his fellow Spaniard before the first turn at the 5.1-kilometer (3.1-mile) MotorLand circuit.

Marquez tried to stay close but let his Honda slide underneath him in the middle of a fast turn to the left, going down and sliding across the track. The Spaniard was furious, clenching both fists before trying to pick up the bike in an unsuccessful attempt to return to the race.

“Today I can only apologize to the team and the fans, because we were working very well and we had a very good pace all weekend,” Marquez said. “I made a mistake and lost the front. It was my fault and I apologize. When a season is not going well for you, then nothing goes your way, and it seems that this season we are finding things hard.”

Rossi, who started sixth with his Yamaha, lost nine points atop the standings after failing to secure second place. He and Pedrosa passed each other several times on the last lap, but Pedrosa was able to cross the finish line in front.

“I tried everything on that last lap but he was strong, he was motivated,” Rossi said. “It’s never nice to lose a side-by-side battle like that, but in the end I have to be happy to reach the podium in a race where I have not done well in the past. I got some important points.”

Pedrosa said “it was great to come out in front after a battle like that.”

Andrea Iannone of Italy finished fourth and countryman Andrea Dovizioso fifth.

The next MotoGP race is Oct. 11 in Japan.

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