INDIANAPOLIS — Marc Marquez found the perfect ending to an imperfect weekend — another trip to victory lane.
After starting Sunday with a shocking spill, dealing with light rain before the race and giving away the lead to the more aggressive Jorge Lorenzo in the first turn, Marquez made a beautiful inside move to sweep past Lorenzo for the lead with less than three laps to go and held on for his third consecutive Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The 0.688-second gap was the narrowest in the race's eight-year history. Points leader Valentino Rossi of Italy finished third, nearly 6 seconds back.
"At the beginning I was able to follow him. But later in the race I was straddling a little bit, I was a half second, six-tenths behind him," Marquez. "At the end, I saw the only chance to attack."
When Marquez accelerated, Lorenzo had no chance of stopping the fearless 22-year-old Spanish star.
As Marquez extended his winning streak on American soil to seven straight, he won his fifth in a row at the Brickyard including Moto2 victories he had in 2011 and 2012. Formula One star Michael Schumacher (2003-06) was the only other driver in a major series to win four straight at Indy.
But as good as Marquez was late, he did not follow his traditionally flawless script at Indy.
Lorenzo took the top spot in practice Friday morning and Friday afternoon.
When Marquez rallied Saturday to post the fastest laps in both practice sessions and earn his third straight Indy pole, it looked as if he was destined to make history.
Instead, Marquez lost his balance going into the 10th turn in Sunday morning's warmup, sending both rider and bike skidding across the track. Neither Marquez nor the bike was seriously damaged.
Lorenzo, the 2009 race winner, wasn't as fortunate when he fell. The damage to his bike forced to use a different one in the race.
"It did not grip enough, suddenly the bike pulled me away," Lorenzo said, describing the crash. "It was a little difficult to fight against my mind to recover the confidence and start a race full of confidence."
He succeeded anyway.
Lorenzo made a daring move by ducking inside Marquez and his Repsol Honda teammate, two-time Indy winner Dani Pedrosa, and beat the other two Spaniards into the first turn to grab the lead.
He stayed in front for 24 laps, until the patient Marquez used the momentum from the fastest lap of the race to sneak by as the two headed into the first turn.
Lorenzo didn't have enough left to catch him.
"My lack of energy at the end of the race was key," Lorenzo said. "So when he passed me I made some mistakes."
The question now is whether Marquez has enough momentum to contend for a third consecutive points title.
He heads to next week's race in the Czech Republic with back-to-back wins and a second-place finish in his past three starts.
And the latest win left him in third place in the points, trailing the Movistar Yamaha teammates — Rossi and Lorenzo — by 56 and 47 points, respectively.
"I think we must be happy we won the race," Marquez said. "Twenty-five points are important. Now we will enjoy the victory."
Repsol Honda won its sixth straight at Indy, and the last five winners all started on the pole.
Notes: Belgium's Livio Loi made an early decision to go with rain tires to beat Britain's John McPhee by 38.860 seconds in the Moto3 race. Loi started 26th in the 34-motorcycle field. Germany's Phillip Oettl was third. ... Pole winner Alex Rins, of Spain, took the lead with less than two laps left and hung on for a 0.482 second victory — his first — over France's Johann Zarco of France in the Moto2 race. Italian Franco Morbidelli was third. Rins is the fourth-youngest winner in series' history. ... Moto2 rider Luis Salom was docked one point after series officials determined he was too close to the racing line in Saturday's qualifying.