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May 20, 2018

MotoGP World Championship Race Results From Le Mans (Updated)

The Bugatti Circuit.

HJC Helmets Grand Prix of France

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Bugatti Circuit

Le Mans, France

May 20, 2018

Race Results (all on Michelin tires):

1. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 27 laps, Total Race Time 41:49.773

2. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), -2.310 seconds

3. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), -5.350

4. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), -6.314

5. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), -7.419

6. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), -10.355

7. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), -23.758

8. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), -25.795

9. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), -26.206

10. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), -27.937

11. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), -32.304

12. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (Yamaha), -34.962

13. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Honda), -37.881

14. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), -38.299

15. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), -41.986

16. Thomas Luthi, Switzerland (Honda), -45.260

17. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), -56.872

18. Xavier Simeon, Belgium (Ducati), -72.117

19. Scott Redding, UK (Aprilia), -17 laps, DNF, crash

20. Tito Rabat, Spain (Ducati), -17 laps, DNF, crash

21. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), -19 laps, DNF, crash

22. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), -23 laps, DNF, crash

23. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), -26 laps, DNF, crash

24. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), -27 laps, DNF, crash

World Championship Point Standings (after 5 of 19 races):

1. Marquez, 95 points

2. Vinales, 59

3. Zarco, 58

4. Rossi, 56

5. Petrucci, 54

6. Miller, 49

7. Iannone, 47

8. TIE, Crutchlow/Dovizioso, 46

10. Pedrosa, 29

11. Rabat, 24

12. Rins, 22

13. Pol Espargaro, 18

14. TIE, Lorenzo/Morbidelli, 16

16. TIE, Aleix Espargaro/Syahrin, 13

18. Bautista, 12

19. Nakagami, 10

20. Mika Kallio, 6

21. TIE, Redding/Smith, 5

23. Abraham, 1

24. TIE, Luthi/Simeon, 0

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech3:

Syahrin powers to strong 12th in Le Mans – Determined Zarco has to keep on waiting for first win

Hafizh Syahrin showed up with a brave performance at the home round of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team today. Following a cautious start, the MotoGP newcomer gained ground in the course of the 27 laps, fighting his way through the experienced field impressively to see the chequered flag in 12th position and won the duel against fellow rookie Franco Morbidelli.

Local hero Johann Zarco kicked off the race in an extraordinary way, riding in the top group from the early stages and was determined to celebrate his first premier class win in front of his cheering home crowd. While battling for the lead, the Frenchman unfortunately slipped out on the eighth lap and therefore has to wait for the next round, which takes place in a fortnight in Mugello, Italy, in order to try to make his dream come true.

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 12th – Championship: 17th – Points: 13

“In the race I was feeling very good, but it’s a shame that I did a bad start and then I was behind a slow group, I had to pass one by one. I know, that my pace was very strong and I think I could have been inside the top 10 with this, but it’s difficult to pass on this track and you also need to be really brave to pass in the first corner. I tried it many times, but in the end, I lost the faster group in front. This is a nice experience for me and I try to learn and to understand for the next races. Also, my confidence is coming back. In Mugello I hope I can give my best again, I try to stay focused and work hard on my physical condition and my riding.”

Johann Zarco

Position: DNF – Championship: 3rd – Points: 58

“We experienced a difficult end of our home Grand Prix, after having great feelings. Anyway, we take home very nice memories with the pole position and showed a great performance. We worked well and, in the race, I was in second position. My start was quite bad, but in the first chicane I could almost immediately make up the positions again. Afterwards, it was difficult with Lorenzo, maybe I could have been faster, but I just didn’t get through. Later on, I wanted to overtake him, but I did a little mistake. I think I was too fast in that corner, went a bit wider and the front closed. I didn’t expect to crash, because my feeling on the bike was good. I should have maybe wait to have less fuel in the bike, which was the best moment for us during the weekend. Even with used tyres, the control was good and it happened at the beginning of the race. I should have waited a bit longer, but I didn’t do it. Now I have to keep in mind, that sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you are not. Yet, I will keep doing what I do all over the world and keep the victory as a target this year.”


Team Manager

“The French Grand Prix is over and I can’t tell you that this isn’t a scenario I didn’t think about. Until Saturday night, Johann did the perfect weekend in my opinion, he got this unbelievable pole position, kept his head cool and looked like coping really well with the pressure of the home GP. This morning, we saw another Johann. There was this kind of warning when he crashed together with Lüthi during the Warm Up, which is not what he is normally doing. We could see, that he was nervous, he wanted to convince himself that everything was going well. The Warm Up is always the last time you are on the bike before you start the race, so it was an important moment. For the race, the exit of the grid was bad, but he recovered in the first chicane with an incredible braking maneuver and later on, we saw that Johann was struggling with Lorenzo in acceleration and he had to make up the whole time lost on the brake. Then Marquez came back and they started a three riders battle. I think Johann just kept the brake a bit too much and lost the front. Sure, afterwards you think it was not necessary to try to pass Lorenzo so early, as when the bike gets a bit lighter the pace would have come. I believe there was a podium, but I’m not a guy of ‘if, if, if’. So, we learned, he learned, especially because it’s a shame to do your first DNF after 21 consecutive points finishing races in your home Grand Prix. Anyway, thanks to Johann, thanks to the entire team. I’m sorry for the fans, because they were all dreaming and waiting for at least another podium and we couldn’t deliver, but that’s unfortunately part of the game. We try again next race in Mugello, which could be a bit difficult with the long straight. On the other side, we are very, very happy with Hafizh, who is back to his normal form and was the best rookie. Unfortunately, he lost a lot of time behind Morbidelli, otherwise I think a top 10 was highly possible, but the 12thposition and four points is great. Some tests in a few days in Barcelona will for sure help him to understand his MotoGP bike even more, but we are truly pleased with what Hafizh has been doing all weekend long. All the time he has a smile on his face, he is learning and shows a great attention to everything the team is telling him, plus good speed. Finally, we are very proud of him. Let’s pack everything now and head to Barcelona for the next test.”

More, from a press release issued by Angel Nieto Team:


The Ángel Nieto Team miss out on points at Le Mans, with Karel Abraham seventeenth and Álvaro Bautista retiring after a crash

A win for Marc Márquez at the French GP gave the Spaniard a boost in the overall standings, whilst rivals Johann Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso both crashed in the early stages of the race. Coming into Le Mans 12 points ahead of Zarco, the Spaniard now holds a 36 point advantage over new closest rival, Maverick Viñales. Danilo Petrucci placed second and Valentino Rossi was third on race day, and now just five points separate four rivals in the battle for second in the overall standings.

The Ángel Nieto Team did not score points at the fifth round of the season, after Karel Abraham finished seventeenth and a second lap crash brought Álvaro Bautista’s race to a premature end. Abraham also made progress in the first phase of the race, moving up to sixteenth, but was unable to get into the points-scoring positions. Bautista had run a good pace over the weekend, and moved up four positions in the early going. When preparing to pass for fifteenth, he lost the front end and crashed out. Both Abraham and Bautista will continue their preparations for the Italian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time with a day of testing this Tuesday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

17th Karel Abraham: "This weekend has been hard for us. I'm not happy with how it went, and it's not where we deserve to end up. I am doing my best and it seems that for now it is not enough. I will have to continue working hard. In the end we were placed seventeenth and we placed out of the points. I think we are able to do much better than this, but unfortunately we are not getting there yet."

Álvaro Bautista (DNF): "It was a crash on the second lap. I lost the rear wheel slightly and at the same time the front slid out. I was coming out of Turn 6, and it's strange to lose the front end exiting a corner. We were always a couple of tenths off the top 10 and I think that in the race we could have fought to be up there. Now we have to look ahead and see if at Mugello we can continue with the same feeling. I feel more comfortable with the bike; the change we made at Jerez was not only specific to that track. Here we were able to feel the same and ride the same, so I'm satisfied with that.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:



A positive result for Aleix Espargaró at Le Mans with his Aprilia RS-GP, finishing ninth after a spectacular battle. After a less than perfect start from the twelfth spot on the grid, Aleix recovered positions in the early phase of the race, establishing himself (thanks in part to a few DNFs in the front ranks) in seventh place. Only an irritating chattering kept him from fending off the attacks of Viñales and Crutchlow in the finale, in any case staying in the top 10, just behind his rivals.

A crash during the tenth lap ended the race early for Scott Redding, never incisive on the French track throughout the weekend and anxious for redemption in the upcoming round at Mugello.


"At the start I was bogged down on the first chicane, losing several positions, so in the early laps I had to push to the limit to make up lost ground. At that point, it was no longer possible to catch up with the leading group of riders and I found myself pushing on my own for the entire race. I maintained a good pace around a low 1’33”, despite a strong chattering on the front that I had not felt all weekend up to that point, otherwise I think that I could also have been faster for a few laps, maybe around a high 1’32”. After an unlucky season start, we'll take this ninth place as a starting point, even if it is certainly not the result we had been aiming for."


"It was a difficult weekend, but I am trying to look at the positive side. Unlike what happened in Jerez, where I didn't have grip in the early laps, here at the race start I felt quite at ease with the bike. Usually the situation improves lap by lap, so I had planned on staying in the group of riders I was battling with to then improve during the race. Unfortunately, I struggled to manage the front tyre and, in fact, my crash was caused by a loss of grip at the front. I am disappointed about how things ended, but I am happy with the way I was riding in the race, where I had the best sensations of the weekend."


"The result Aleix achieved could have been better, but we are still satisfied. It was important to finish this race and we managed to do that, so over all we were protagonists in a high level weekend. Compared to Jerez, we continued growing and we count on being at the same levels as the end of last year soon, despite the fact that the championship this year is more competitive and difficult. Our growth is constant and better results will soon arrive as well. In spite of everything, Scott also showed signs of improvement. Now we are going straight to Barcelona for two days of tests where we will work hard with him as well so that he will be able to feel more at ease in the saddle."


"Aleix rode a good race. We needed to do well and bring home important points. The result today is important to regain confidence and head to Mugello in the best possible form. That will be a demanding race that we will prepare for with two days of testing in Barcelona."

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:


LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami claimed another points finish in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday. Starting from 19th on the grid, the Japanese rookie produced a patient and determined ride to take 15th position at the chequered flag, maintaining his record of finishing every race thus far in his debut season in the MotoGP class.

Nakagami acknowledged he was still suffering pain from his crash in Friday’s FP2 session ahead of Sunday’s showpiece, but managed to post the 16th fastest time in the warm-up. The 26-year-old would struggle with front tyre grip in the second half of the race, but kept his concentration to take 15th spot and another point in the world championship standings.

Takaaki Nakagami– 15th

“It was a tough race and my physical condition is not perfect, but during the race I felt ok. It was not a great start to the race, but I had a much better feeling with the bike than in Jerez. I was behind Cal for a bit and I thought about trying to overtake him, but then he started to go away and so I tried to follow him.

“But after 15 laps I started to struggle on the front tyre as maybe I used it too much in the early part in the braking. From then I struggled a little to keep the pace, but I made an adjustment on the mapping which helped us understand a bit more from this race. The day after tomorrow we have testing in Montmelo and we just have to keep pushing and improving and now I’m looking forward to Mugello.”

More, from a press release issued by KTM:


RACE 5th Rd. MotoGP 2018, Le Mans (FRA)

A tricky and engaging fifth round of 2018 MotoGP saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro just miss his first top ten classification around the sweeps and chicanes of the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit for the Grand Prix de France. The Spaniard was 11th and Bradley Smith also took home points for 14th place. In Moto2 both Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder finished in the top ten again, the Moto3 class saw another all orange KTM podium.


With a reasonable track temperature and the enticing promise of top ten potential at the iconic French facility (that first hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix in 1969 and has been a popular draw for MotoGP since 2000), both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith set off from the sixth row of the grid. The Le Mans asphalt counted out a number of names, riders like Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso and home favourite Johann Zarco, but #44 and #38 KTM RC16 diligently pushed for the best points and positions throughout the 27 laps.

Espargaro duelled with Alex Rins and then had to cope with an ailing Cal Crutchlow and was eventually less than five seconds from his best result of the campaign. Smith tried to relegate Franco Morbidelli to reach the top thirteen but was unable to defy the Italian in what would have been a ranking to equal his highest of 2018.

With 18 points Espargaro is 13th in the MotoGP table. Smith is 22nd and Mika Kallio already has enough points to sit in 20th.

Espargaro: “We made a good start with six places on the first lap and made my way into that group ahead of me. I then tried as hard as I could to finish as fast as possible and make that eleventh place. We’re almost twenty seconds faster than we were last year and this is very nice because we have been working very hard. We’re still looking ahead and we have some way to go. Mugello next and our bike is fast on the straight – I think today we had the fourth best speed in the traps – this means our engine is working well and I’m hopeful and positive that we’ll be consistent.”

Smith: “I’m pleased with the race. I lost a bit of time at the beginning with the battling on the opening laps. I was keeping stable with the guys by mid-race and then struggled to get back to them. 14th is another points-scoring position and I was having a good fight with Morbidelli at the end. We improved another fifteen seconds over our race distance last year so again KTM is making gains but the competition keeps getting higher and higher. Heads down now and thoughts towards the two-day test in Barcelona and we need to try the new surface. I enjoy Mugello and the bike has some good power and potential. It is always a favourite of mine on the calendar with the undulations and the crazy Italian fans. It’s a pleasure to ride there.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “A race team is a race team and we are always looking for targets ahead of us. At the moment we are stuck around these positions…but that does not mean it is easy to earn these positions! It is the limit we are hitting at the moment and everybody in the team and the company is working very hard to make a step on the technical side because we have to help our riders get into the top ten. That is the goal for the season and it will not happen overnight but we are pushing hard for it. I hope we can bring an update and start to beat our previous best results.”


Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira was content with his progress to reach 6th position in the Moto2 Grand Prix and an improvement of eleven places compared to 2017. The Portuguese was just a tenth of a second behind Xavier Vierge and three slots ahead of Brad Binder on the KTM Moto2.

Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto2): "We have to be happy with today's results, because both of our riders were able to finish in the Top 10. The start of the weekend was very difficult, as was Saturday morning. I’m happy with the progress we have made throughout these past three days, since last year we had difficulties here with Miguel (Oliveira); Brad (Binder) was out injured. We have improved and we haven’t surrendered at any time. Making improvement during the race weekend is the most important thing. We leave here with more points, we are second in both the rider standings, with Miguel, and in the team standings. Next week we will have a day of testing and we’ll have another after the race at Mugello, so the next three weeks are very important for us. I am very sure that we can fight for victories again."


Albert Arenas won his first ever Moto3 Grand Prix on the Angel Nieto Team Moto3 KTM RC250 GP after a typically dramatic and crash-laden affair. KTM filled all three podium positions once more with Andrea Migno and Marcos Ramirez also on the rostrum and Red Bull KTM Ajo's Darryn Binder just outside the top ten on eleventh place.

The Gran Premio D’Italia at the majestic Mugello circuit will celebrate another carnival atmosphere around MotoGP with the FIM World Championship arriving to the fast and flowing layout in two weeks time.

Next Race: June 3, 2018 – Mugello (ITA)

Results MotoGP Le Mans 2018

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 41:49.773 min (27 laps)

2. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati, +2.310 sec

3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +5.160

4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati, +6.314

5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +7.419


11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +32.304

14. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +38.299

Standings MotoGP 2018 after 5 of 19 rounds

1. Marquez, 95 points

2. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, 59

3. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, 58

4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, 65

5. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati, 54


13. Espargaro, 18

20. Kallio, 6

22. Smith, 5

Results Moto2 Le Mans 2018

1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 40:40.162 min (25 laps)

2. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +2.709 sec

3. Joan Mir (ESP), Kalex, +4.865

4. Marcel Schrötter (GER), Kalex, +7.041

5. Xavi Vierge (ESP), Kalex, +9.811


6. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +9.943

9. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +15.429

Standings Moto2 2018 after 5 of 19 rounds

1. Bagnaia, 98 points

2. Oliveira, 73

3. Marquez, 67

4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, 64

5. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, 58


9. Binder, 37

10. Icer Lecuona (ESP), KTM, 23

Results Moto3 Le Mans 2018

1. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM, 37:40.056 min (22 laps)

2. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, +0.160 sec

3. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, +0.709

4. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, +1.811 (3 sec penalty)

5. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), Honda, +2.305 (1.8 sec penalty)


6. Jakub Korneil (CZE), KTM, +5.487 (1.3 sec penalty)

10. Jaume Masia (ESP), KTM, +11.704

11. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +12.011

Standings Moto3 2018 after 5 of 19 rounds

1. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, 63 points

2. Di Giannantonio, 59

3. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 56

4. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 55

5. Migno, 45


6. Ramirez, 37

8. Philipp Öttl (GER), KTM, 36

9. Kornfeil, 36

21. Binder, 8

More, from a press release issued by Reale Avintia Racing:

Reale Avintia Racing leaves Le Mans without reward

Reale Avintia Racing– GP of France – Le Mans

Reale Avintia Racing team leaves France without reward. Until Sunday, the weekend had been very positive for Tito Rabat, moving straight to Q2 and qualifying eleventh on the grid. The Spaniard had a great start in the race and was in the top ten on the first lap, behind his compatriots Pedrosa and Rins. Tito felt he was strong, but crashed on the second lap when he tried to overtake both of them. Rabat picked his bike up and continued the race, but something was not working well and he was forced to retire on lap eleven.

His teammate Xavier Simeon finished the race, but with a lot of pain in his right forearm. It was a shame for the Belgian rider who was very comfortable with his bike and had been able to put up a fight with some rivals during the first few laps.

This week he will consult Dr. Xavier Mir at the Hospital Universitari Quiron Dexeus, and then a decision will be made if surgery is necessary.

The Reale Avintia Racing team now heads to Barcelona for a one day Michelin tire test on Tuesday. The track has been completely resurfaced and it has a revised layout.

Xavier Simeon | P18

“It is a shame, because I struggled during the whole race and I was hardly able to ride the bike. After five or six laps, the pain in my right arm was too much and it is a pity because in the warm up this morning we found something on the set-up that helped me a lot. I was really comfortable and during the first few laps, I was able to attack and battled within a group. But then I had this problem in my forearm and I was counting down the laps until the end. We have to find a solution to this issue for the rest of the season, because we improved the bike and we want to continue on our way up.”

Tito Rabat | DNF

“This time I had a good start, the first lap was strong, I gained one place and my feeling with the bike was perfect. I felt so strong that I wanted to overtake Dani and Rins as soon as possible. Instead of thinking and be patient, I just wanted to pass them. They went long in one turn and I tried, but in the next corner I changed my lines to defend my position, lost the front and crashed. I want to say sorry to the team because I had a great bike today and a good opportunity for a top ten finish. But I’ve screwed up.”

More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi raised the bar today at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans. He started the race from the third row of the grid and fought his way up to ultimately take a strong 3rd place finish. Maverick Viñales made up for a difficult start to the Grand Prix de France, riding from 13th to 7th position.

Le Mans (France), 20th May 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi showed once again you should never count him out for the race, regardless of his starting position. He displayed a competitive pace aboard his YZR-M1 throughout today's entire Grand Prix de France, to take a strong third place on the podium. Maverick Viñales scored solid points with a seventh position result at the end of a challenging weekend and took over second place in the championship standings.

Rossi had a brilliant start, rushing from ninth to sixth place in the first corners. An early faller moved the Italian up another spot as he settled into the leading group. He subsequently lost a place to Danilo Petrucci, but moved back up to fifth when Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the lead.

Johann Zarco also fell victim to a lack of grip, allowing Rossi up to fourth. The Doctor could smell a podium result and picked up the pace, soon taking third position from Jorge Lorenzo. He set a provisional fastest race lap of 1‘31.426s with 13 laps to go, eager to close the gap to Petrucci and kick off a fight for second place, but the Yamaha-rider wasn‘t able to get close enough. He crossed the line in third place, 5.350s from the front.

Viñales struggled to match the pace at the start of the 27 lap race. He was in 11th place after the first sector, but was eager to keep up with the front-runners. He briefly moved up to ninth when a lack of grip cost him four positions. He had his work cut out for him, riding in 13th, but the Spaniard is no slouch. He gradually started to pick up places and snatched ninth as he became more daring on the soft front and rear tyre.

On a second wind, he started to consistently clock 1‘33s-low times to reel in Alex Rins. On lap 19 and 20 he swiftly moved past him as well as Aleix Espargaró for seventh place, thus fuelling his motivation to keep fighting. He put in a personal best lap of 1‘32.871s with two laps to go, but the margin to Lorenzo was too big to bridge. The young gun took the chequered flag 23.758s after the race leader but earned some valuable championship points.

Viñales' seventh place moves him up to second position in the championship standings with 59 points, 3 points ahead of teammate Rossi, who climbed up to fourth position. The solid results keep Yamaha in second place in the Constructor Championship with a 28-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team dropped to second position in the team standings and now have a 9-point gap to the top.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will be back in action in two weeks‘ time at the team‘s and Rossi‘s home Grand Prix, the Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley, held at the Autodromo del Mugello from June 1st – 3rd.



Today's podium is important and encouraging for the team. Valentino really deserved the third place he earned today, because he never gave up throughout this weekend. He used all his experience and his resilience to prepare for this race and once again proved his pedigree, especially considering the set-back of yesterday's qualifying. Maverick had a difficult start and he needed a lot of time to overtake the riders in front of him. By the time he had a clear track he was able to ride good lap times, but by then the gap to the front was already too big. On a positive note, he did take over second place in the championship standings, but it's mainly Vale's podium result, at a track that caught out many riders today, that gives the team a boost for the next GP. However, first we'll be testing at Montmeló, to try the resurfaced track, and this will give us some further time to work on the bikes' balance.


Since yesterday, we‘ve worked well. I was feeling quite pessimistic after qualifying, but we made two or three modifications to the balance of the bike that gave me more grip and also made me lose less in acceleration. Already this morning in the warm up I was not so bad, so I thought “I can do a good race”, but starting from the third row is always difficult. You have to stay concentrated, but I had a great start and right from the first lap I was able to overtake. I was in the right group. The other positive thing was that after that lap I was fast, I did good lap times and I had a good pace, this is very important. I hope that we can continue to work strongly, like we did today, to further improve the bike.


This was not the race I hoped for when I arrived here in Le Mans. It took me quite some time to get past a few rivals and when I arrived in seventh place the gap to the riders in front of me was too big. It's disappointing that I couldn't fight at the front today, and this is something we need to keep working on, but I did move up to second in the championship standings. This means we need to stay focused and keep working hard, starting at the test in Montmeló. I can't wait to go there so we can try to make another step before the next GP.

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Marquez equals Stoner as Rossi gets back on the podium

The Championship leader matches the Australian’s premier class win record with victory in Le Mans

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took a record-breaking victory at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France, which sees the reigning World Champion equal Casey Stoner’s 38 premier class wins - and surpass Mike Hailwood's win record. Alma Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci was a superb second to take his first podium of the season - and from the front row - with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) returning to rostrum in third place after a more difficult run of races for the 'Doctor'.

Sadly, however, the French fairytale wasn't to be for Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), as the home hero crashed out at Turn 8 on lap eight after re-passing Marquez for second in the fight at the front. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was another rider to crash, falling out of contention on lap one at la Chapelle after making a good start. In yet more drama for the standings, Championship contender Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) made a rare error at the same corner four laps later, making Le Mans another pivotal race in the Championship.

At the start, it was Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) who got the holeshot from the second row, repeating his incredible launch of the Spanish GP to take off in the lead – and hold onto it. Zarco dropped from pole but then struck back almost immediately into the chicane to take second, with Petrucci, Dovizioso, Marquez and Rossi all close at the front until Iannone crashed out – leaving a gap back to Marquez as the two Ducatis and Zarco stayed close together at the front.

The Frenchman then headed slightly wide and Dovizioso struck, honing in on teammate Lorenzo in the lead and not leaving long before trying an attack. Getting the job done quickly, it seemed the Italian was then going to unleash his pace shown in practice – but he suddenly slid out of the lead and into the gravel, leaving the number 99 of Lorenzo’s Ducati out front.

Zarco and Marquez closed in before the reigning Champion shot past the Frenchman for second – but Zarco, in signature style, was quick to respond. The second bolt of drama was about to hit the race, however, as the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider then slid off at Turn 8 – leaving Marquez vs Lorenzo in the lead.

On Lap 10, the number 93 made his move before Petrucci followed the Honda rider through a lap later. Rossi and Miller soon carved their way past the five-time World Champion, who started the race on softer rubber, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) waiting in the wings.

The gap between Marquez, Petrucci, Rossi and Miller stayed consistent, with all four exchanging quickest laps. That was until six-time World Champion Marquez pulled the pin on Lap 16, setting the fastest lap of the race to bridge to gap to a second over the chasing GP18. From there, Marquez was able to stretch the gap tenth by tenth, with Petrucci also keeping nine-time World Champion Rossi at bay. Pedrosa was later able to pass Lorenzo for fifth, with the Ducati rider having to settle for sixth.

Further down the order, after failing to get the start he was looking for, last year’s winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made his way back up to seventh after being outside the top ten for the first half of the race. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) had a great ride, holding onto eighth until the last lap but then coming home ninth. Passing him on the last lap was a superhuman Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), who had a magnificent ride battling to P8 from 13th on the grid – riding through the pain barrier after a huge highside on Saturday.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) battled with Viñales and Espargaro throughout the race, eventually rounding out the top ten in his first ride at the track in the premier class, having missed the event in 2017 due to injury. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) picked up another solid result in P11 for some more good points for KTM, with Bradley Smith adding to the total in P14. Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) eventually got the better of Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) to finish as top rookie in twelfth, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) rounding the points scorers.

That’s it for Le Mans, and it’s now time to gear up for Mugello. Marquez extends his Championship lead to 36 points but the Italians will be out in force to try and stop him – can his momentum be stalled?

Bagnaia reigns supreme as Mir takes his first podium

It’s now three wins in five races for the Championship leader, with Marquez and Mir completing on the podium

Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Franceso Bagnaia was simply unstoppable in the Moto2™ race at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France, converting pole position into a commanding victory to take his third win of 2018 - the first winner from pole in Moto2™ at the venue. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the Italian’s closest challenger in second, with teammate 2017 Moto3™ World Champion Joan Mir securing his maiden intermediate class podium, crossing the line third.

There was drama before the race began for the man who qualified second, with Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) having to start from the back of the grid a mechanical problem before the Spaniard went out.

As the lights went out, Bagnaia made the perfect launch from pole and took the holeshot, with Marquez moving straight into P2. Third on the grid and World Championship contender Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) didn’t get the start he would have wanted, and when pushing to make up positions on lap seven, the Italian crashed at Turn 2 – rider ok.

Back at the front, Bagnaia and Marquez pushed to create a gap back to Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mir, with Bagnaia then able to pull away for a comfortable win. Marquez kept it calm to take second and twenty points towards the Championship, with Mir able to turn his incredible pace this weekend into his first ever podium in the class - in only his fifth race.

Schroetter would finish the race fourth, his best ever Moto2™ result after a weekend of top pace and despite still recovering from injury. Meanwhile, teammate Vierge was a man on a charge, he caught and passed Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by lap 14, and then reeled in rookie Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) to get up into fifth. The Spaniard held off a late charge from Oliveira to finish a phenomenal P5.

Rookie Fenati was a season best seventh as his adaptation to the class continued, with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) giving the French fans something to cheer about in P8 – his best result of the year so far. The Frenchman was locked in a battle with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the latter stages of the race, and the South African took P9.

Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) produced a stunning ride to round out the top ten, coming from 23rd on the grid, with the key name missing from that fight at the front proving to be Championship protagonist Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), who crashed and leaves a GP with no points for the first time this year.

Joe Roberts (NTS RW Racing GP), after passing Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) for P14, crashed from a first point scoring finish, with Isaac Viñales (SAG Team), Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors), Eric Granado (Forward Racing Team) and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) some of the other crashers, riders ok.

Despite Marquez' best efforts, closing the gap to less than a second with four laps to go, there was no stopping Bagnaia. He heads to the Tuscan hills leading the World Championship by a healthy 25 points. The Italian has made a blistering start to 2018, can anyone stop him on home soil next time out?

Arenas victorious in drama-filled Moto3™ race

A maiden win for the Spaniard, with Bezzecchi and Martin crashing on the final lap

Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) claimed his first lightweight class win at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France in what was nothing short of a spectacular Moto3™ race. Teammate Andrea Migno claimed second to make it a perfect day for the Angel Nieto Team, with Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) standing on the third step of the podium for the second race in a row.

That was just the start, with all the drama coming in the final laps of the race. One of the biggest headlines was Championship leaders Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) and Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) – the two leaders for most of the race – crashing with just one corner to go. Bezzecchi, after being passed by Fabio Di Giannanotonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), highsided trying to cut back through on his compatriot. Martin, right behind Bezzecchi in third, had nowhere to go – the Spaniard crashed out of a podium position.

The drama didn't stop there. Di Giannantonio went on take the checkered flag, with the Italian elated to have claimed what he thought was his first ever Moto3™ race win. However, a three second time penalty for running over the chicane at Turns 10 and 11 midway through the race was added to his time – meaning Arenas took the race win.

Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was another who fell foul of the same rule, penalised for running straight over the first chicane. So although the Italian crossed the line third, a time penalty promoted Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) to make it the second consecutive race the Spaniard stands on the podium. Di Giannantonio was classified fourth, leaving him second in the World Championship, and Antonelli was classified fifth.

Another huge headline moment saw Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP), battling for the lead throughout, showing off some outrageous motocross skills when he unavoidably hit Enea Bastianini’s Leopard Racing bike after the Italian fell on the final corner with a lap to go. The Czech rider was launched into the air, but spectacularly managed to land upright in the gravel - and cross the line sixth.

Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) had a strong showing in P7, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) brilliantly carving his way from the back of the grid to finish in the top ten. The Spaniard will leave Le Mans third in the Championship, ahead of Martin and only seven points off Bezzecchi the leader.

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) came home ninth, with rookie Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) rounding out the top ten. The injured Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a great ride to finish P11, with John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) also coming from the back of the grid to finish in the points – the Scot came home P12.

Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) and Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia) were both fallers – riders ok. Meanwhile, Livio Loi (Reale Avintia Academy) jumped the start and was given a ride through penalty while battling for points.

The penalties and crashes mean the Championship standings have closed right up, but Bezzecchi is still leading the Championship heading to his home round at Mugello.

More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

Grand Prix de France - The RACE (and Podium!)

#FrenchGP. A triumph for Alma Pramac Racing. Stunning podium for Petrux. Fantastic P4 for Jack.

Vive la France! Alma Pramac Racing celebrates a spectacular Sunday, the most beautiful in its history and consolidates its third place in the MotoGP team classification. Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller make fans happy. The rider from Terni is on the podium between Marquez and Valentino. The Australian finished fourth after an extraordinary race.

When Danilo pops the champagne on the podium it's a great party for his team. Petrux's race was superlative: he stayed with the front group in the first two corners and then stuck to the leaders. After the crashes of Dovizioso and Zarco, he tried to chase Lorenzo, overtaking him on lap 11 for P2. Petrux tries to catch Marquez and 10 laps from the end the gap is 0.4 seconds. Marquez defended his first place and Danilo controlled Valentino for second place.

It was a fantastic race for Jack Miller as he defended seventh place at the start. The Australian rider defended himself well from Pedrosa's attack then on lap 14 he overtook Lorenzo and climbed to fourth. Jack tried to chase Valentino Rossi for the podium and with 10 laps to go he reduced the gap to 0.8 seconds. In the last laps, however, no more stamina is left for anybody and Jack secures a great fourth place.

P2 Danilo Petrucci

“It is a great Sunday. I couldn't get off to a good start but managed to stay with the leading group from first lap. I had a good pace and a great confidence. We did a great job this weekend. I am also pleased to have given the team a great satisfaction. See you at Mugello”.

P4 Jack Miller

“It was a good race. I am pleased to have been with the front group all the time. I tried to take Valentino for the podium but in the end I wasn't able to do it. I would like to congratulate Petrux for his result and thank the team for the work they have done this weekend. It is a great team and they deserve this result”.

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Masterful Marquez makes it three in a row, solid fifth place for Pedrosa at Le Mans

Marc Marquez enjoyed another fantastic race weekend, taking his third consecutive victory this season, the 64th of his career, and his 38th in MotoGP, equalling Casey Stoner’s Premier Class GP win tally and extending his own Championship lead to 36 points over second-place rider Maverick Viñales.

The only rider on a hard Michelin rear tyre, Marc managed the race perfectly in every phase, on a track that is usually challenging for him. He kept his cool during the early laps until his tyres were ready, took the lead after the crashes of Title-chase rivals Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco, and eventually built a comfortable gap at the front, which he managed until the chequered flag fell.

Dani Pedrosa rode a strong race, recovering from the fourth row on the grid to finish in fifth place, keeping a good pace for the entire race.

Marc Marquez 93


“I’m particularly happy with this win here in Le Mans, as it’s one of the most difficult tracks for us! Today I was the only one on a hard rear tyre, and that made my approach to the race a bit different because I knew it would take a little more time to reach the right temperature. But during the warm-up, I had the opportunity to verify that once the tyre was ready, it was very constant, and I was able to keep a very good rhythm. To be honest, things were a bit challenging at the beginning of the race: Zarco touched me in the second corner and I went a bit wide, then Iannone crashed and nearly hit me, so I lost some more positions. I decided to cool down for a while. When I saw that Dovi and Johann were out, my approach to the race again changed a bit. At a certain point, I had one big moment in turn three, where I had already crashed in FP3, which is why I was being extremely careful there; I think that helped me to avoid a crash in that moment. I’m currently experiencing a very ‘sweet’ period with my bike, and when you’ve got that kind of feeling, you also work better; then you ride better, and the bike works better. Things don't exactly become easier when you get into this zone, but they’re more ‘natural.’ Of course it’s a very long season, and not all the races will be the same, so we’ll just try and keep the momentum.”

Dani Pedrosa 26


“Fifth is a decent result considering the weekend and my physical potential. Looking at the positives, we recovered five positions after starting from 10th place, which isn't so easy at this track. Today it was also important not to crash, and we managed to finish the race, which in turn lets us approach the next race with some more confidence. And finally, our rhythm at the end of the race was consistent, even if it’s not yet as fast as we would've liked. We were able to improve our bike setup over the weekend, and I’d like to thank the team for that. Now we’ll see what my physical condition is like after next week's test in Catalunya. Hopefully it will be better, and then we’ll try and keep improving our performances.”

More, from a press release issued by Michelin:


Michelin had its range of MotoGP™ tyre compounds used to impressive effect during today’s HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France at its home race from a packed Le Mans as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took his third victory in succession in this year’s championship.

Following a successful weekend for the MICHELIN Power Slicks, which had witnessed the outright lap-record broken many times, before home favourite Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) set the lowest time of the event in the Qualifying Practice to take Pole Position for today’s 27-lap race, Michelin had seen its full range of tyres contend with some very unusual circumstances all throughout the three-days. The ultra-grippy track gave the riders the opportunity to use the tyres to their full extent, but the cool air and low track temperatures meant that every racer had to continually push to keep their chosen rubber at the optimum operating temperature. This mix of conditions meant that tyre choice was a major factor and it led to four of the six MICHELIN Power Slicks being used in today’s race.

As the lights changed to signal go – after a stirring rendition of ‘La Marseillaise’ had been sung by most of the record-breaking 105,203 fans at trackside – Zarco was quickly off the line, but yielded the lead to the Ducati pair of Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). The three all challenged for the front before the tricky conditions saw both Dovizioso and Zarco crash out. Lorenzo was then pursued by Marquez for three laps, before the reigning champion challenged for and took the lead on lap-10. The Honda rider then never looked back as he set consistently fast laps using a medium front and hard rear compound tyre – the only rider to choose the hard version – on his way to his 38th premier class win.

Behind Marquez were some interesting battles as Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) produced a great ride to take second – and the First Independent Rider position – on his Ducati equipped with soft front and rear compound tyres. Third went to Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who chose a medium front compound paired with a soft rear, as all three on the podium again demonstrated the different choices by riders, as the trio had separate configurations on their respective machines from three different manufacturers.

Today’s race was held in dry and sunny conditions, but cool air and the breeze kept temperatures to 18°C, with asphalt getting to the high 30s. This was the weather that had been present all weekend, so the riders had been able to prepare accordingly and the practice sessions proved invaluable to allow them to make the best tyre choices for all their respective machines. Following the podium threesome home was Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in fifth. Sixth went to Lorenzo and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took seventh. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) rode to a brave eighth after spending last night in hospital following a huge high-side crash in yesterday’s qualifying as he pushed hard for a better grid position. Ninth was Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) with his best result of the season so far and Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) rounded out the top-ten.

Michelin’s next stop of the round-the-world MotoGP tour is the picturesque circuit of Mugello in Italy, which will stage the sixth round of the 2018 season on Sunday 3rd June.

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:

“I am happy to win here in France and at Michelin’s home. This is a difficult circuit for us, so I am pleased with the result. I was only rider with the hard rear tyre in the race, as everyone else used the soft, this was because the performance of the soft was very good, but I realised this morning that the hard had a little bit more for me. The approach to the race was different as it took time to get the tyre to the correct working temperature, but when it got there it was very constant and very fast. I managed the tyre well till the end, and I was able to be even faster in the last laps, but I did enough to get the victory. I am happy and will enjoy this sweet moment!”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“This has been another strong weekend for us. We saw the outright record broken, the race was very fast and the range of tyres we brought to our home race suited the track very well. We did not foresee the cooler air temperatures, which made the tyres cool if the riders didn’t keep pushing and this was something the technicians had to make sure all the teams were aware of, so that the guys could get maximum traction, but also ride safely. Marc produced some fast lap-times in the race and took a deserved win on the day, but Danilo and Valentino pushed him all the way. It was again pleasing to see three brands of bikes on the podium equipped with three different configurations of compounds and what was also important was that all six manufacturers were in the first eleven positions, this is a big plus for the championship and again highlights our drive to make tyres for all.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Jorge Lorenzo takes the flag in sixth place at Le Mans. Andrea Dovizioso forced to retire after crashing out on lap 5 while in the lead of the French GP

Jorge Lorenzo finished today’s French Grand Prix, round 5 of the world championship held at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, in sixth place. The Spanish rider, who got a great start from row 2 when the lights went off, led for the first nine laps, but then gradually lost ground to finish his race in sixth position.

It turned out to be an unfortunate race for Andrea Dovizioso, who had just passed his team-mate to move into the lead on lap 5. Unfortunately the Italian then made a mistake at the La Chapelle curve that sent him sliding out of the French GP.

After the fifth round of the championship, Dovizioso has now dropped to ninth place in the standings with 46 points while Lorenzo is in fourteenth position with 16 points.

The next MotoGP appointment will be the Michelin test on Tuesday 23rd May at the Montmeló circuit, while the fans are already gearing up for the Italian Grand Prix, to be held at Mugello from 1st to 3rd June.

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 6th

“Once again I got a great start, which allowed me to stay in the lead for nine laps, but unfortunately I was unable to keep the pace for all the distance. We still have a small problem making the bike more user-friendly, which makes it very tiring for me, and I’m unable to be consistent for many laps. Luckily in two days’ time we will be at Montmeló for a one-day test and we’ll try and find a solution, because I’m convinced that if we manage to resolve these final details we can fight for podiums and the wins. In any case we finished the race and, after my DNF in Jerez, this was also one of today’s objectives.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – DNF

“I’m really gutted, this time it was only my mistake. I went a bit wide at Turn 6, I didn’t think I had any problems with the front turning in but it did. It’s a real pity because today I had good sensations and a chance of fighting for the win, I think quite easily, and it is an unacceptable error for someone like myself who wants to fight for the title. At this moment in time it’s hard to digest the mistake I made because I usually don’t make any, but unfortunately races are sometimes like that and now we have to look to the future. I want to say sorry to the team and the guys in Ducati Corse because we did an outstanding job this weekend, we came to the race in perfect condition and our bike was simply terrific.”

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:


Alex Rins: 10th (+27.937)

Andrea Iannone: DNF

• Alex Rins makes a good comeback after difficult recent run.

• Andrea Iannone caught out by a strange crash.

• Team SUZUKI ECSTAR look ahead to Mugello with hope.

An unexpected third sunny day in a row set the scene for a bitter-sweet Sunday for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, where a promising Andrea Iannone saw his race end prematurely in turn 6’s gravel trap on the first lap of the French GP. While Alex Rins, despite recent struggles, put in solid race which earned him the chequered flag and championship points.

In morning Warm-Up, the soft-soft tyre combination was used, and Andrea Iannone found promising pace as he completed the 15-minute session just +0.516 from the top of the timesheet.

When the lights went out for the 27 lap race the track temperatures were at their highest of the weekend, and both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders opted for the medium-soft combination. Alex Rins made a good start from his 15th spot on the grid. The young Spaniard, who started this year’s race as a “rookie” having missed out with injury last year, slotted into 8th place on the opening lap. He maintained strong pace, and despite losing a few positions, he was ready to fight back. In the closing laps he lost out on 9th place and, following a small moment, he decided to maintain his rhythm to the flag, completing his target of a Top 10 finish.

Andrea Iannone also made a good start off the line, but unfortunately was caught out early on Lap 1 when he went down whilst running in 3rd place. The Italian was thankfully uninjured but it came as a big blow considering his recent run of excellent form, and the fact he entered the race 4th in the championship standings.

Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager

“Today has been a pity for Andrea, because he had podium pace, but his race ended early. In Jerez our performance wasn’t perfect but we still managed a podium, today we had a very good performance but no podium - this is racing. Alex managed to finish the race, and that was very important. We’ll try again in Mugello, where we have more confidence after the positive test we did last week.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Of course the early crash from Andrea was a big pity because today we started in a very good position and he had good pace - we could have had a very good race in the top group I think. Andrea has been consistently fast in the last races and also here for the whole weekend, so we look forward to Mugello, which is also a special track for him. Alex was struggling during the weekend, we also tried some final modifications in warmup before the race, and the result wasn’t so bad considering the difficulties we faced. It was important for him to finish the race, and he scored a few points. He has already ridden the MotoGP bike at Mugello, when we tested there last week, so we will turn the page and look towards this next race. We’ll continue to work.”

Alex Rins

“This weekend has been very difficult for me, trying to manage everything and go fast. In the race I tried to find the balance, and I think finishing in tenth was a good result. I was fighting with Aleix, Maverick and Cal during the last laps and we got a good finish. Now I just need to work hard from Fridays onwards, because all the tracks from now on I have already ridden with the MotoGP bike. Things are going in a good way, and at the Mugello test we tried some useful things, so we’ll go there with our heads up and try to complete a good weekend.”

Andrea Iannone

“I don’t really know what happened and it was a really strange crash. For sure I’m not happy about this race because we had really good potential today and really good pace, enough to be able to aim for the podium. But this is the reality. I started really well but then I lost the rear and it was strange, the team will check the data. I missed out on a potential podium and points, and both were really important. But we will come back strong from this situation. I hope Mugello will be a really good race for us, especially after a positive test there. It’s my home race so I’m really motivated.”