Marc Marquez revealed how a risky tyre switch paid off after he won the Grand Prix of Aragon for a third successive year.
The Repsol Honda rider prevailed in a gripping battle with Andrea Dovizioso to record his sixth race victory of the season, in the process extending his lead in the title battle.
However, the Spaniard - who celebrated in style on home soil, jumping onto a barrier to issue a salute to a section of the crowd - may not have been able to challenge had he not made a late change to his bike.
Marquez opted to go with a soft rear tyre, rather than hard, a decision he only made after crashing in practice prior to the race.
"I took a risk from the beginning. When I chose the soft tyre, I knew it would be dry in the afternoon with hot conditions," the world champion told BT Sport.
"But, with the hard [tyre] it did not feel well, not so well. I said I preferred to be with the soft to be fast at the beginning, then at the end we would have to wait and see, I would try to manage it in another way.
"That was the key. I was really smooth in the beginning and then I was able to fight with Andrea. It was a big fight, from the beginning right through to the end.
"The pace was not very fast, plus we use the hard front tyre. I was able to push with the front and save the rear, so this helped me a little bit. With the pace not so fast, I was able to manage in the corners, where I wanted to."
Dovizioso led for the majority of the laps after polesitter Jorge Lorenzo crashed out at the opening turn, only for a fast-finishing Marquez to seize control in the closing stages.
Still, the Italian felt his ability to compete at the front of the field is a good sign for Ducati ahead of the final five races in 2018.
"Marc is very strong here, the real surprise is we are fighting with Marc, so I'm so happy about the work we did during this season, to come here in this moment of this championship very strong," he told BT Sport.
"In our bad track we are fighting for the victory, this is good for this championship and also for the future."
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