Former MotoGP rider Bradley Smith adds 2022 EWC Le Mans 24…
Former MotoGP rider Bradley Smith has announced he will make an appearance in the World Endurance Championship later this month after being added to the MOTO AIN Yamaha team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Englishman – who has started 233 Grands Prix since making his 125cc class debut in 2006 – is making a full-scale return to racing in 2022 after spending much of last year on the sidelines working on alternative projects, including the creation of his own Project 109 team which competes in Italy.
However, he will be back on the GP grid in 2022 as part of the RNF Racing MotoE World Cup team, which kicks off with its opening round at Jerez from April 30-May 1.
Before that, he will compete with the French-flagged MOTO AIN team alongside Claudio Corti – with whom he created Project 109 – and former WorldSSP leader Corentin Perolari. Although this is the Englishman’s first appearance at Le Mans, he has already contested and won the Suzuka 8 Hours.
“I raced from an early age and for the past two decades I have focused on MotoGP, which is the ultimate racing championship. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve achieved, but as a true motorcycle racing enthusiast, I’m also looking for other competitions.
“The 24 Heures Motos is one of the most famous endurance races in the world and the idea of racing for 24 hours non-stop seems a bit crazy to me if I’m being honest.
“Last winter, when Pierre [Chapuis, team director] presented this opportunity to race at Le Mans, it aroused my curiosity and I said to myself “why not?
“We did several tests in Spain and the lap times were encouraging. The technical basis of the Yamaha R1 is good, although we are missing some factory parts compared to our rivals.
With 119 GP starts having been in the premier MotoGP class during stints with Tech 3 Yamaha, KTM Factory and Aprilia Racing, Smith’s return to Le Mans will see him backtrack until he lands the first of his 29 career GP podiums. .
Smith and Corti won’t be the only riders with MotoGP credentials to compete at Le Mans, with the likes of Sylvain Guintoli, Xavier Simeon and Randy de Puniet also on the entry list.