Ex-MotoGP rider Bradley Smith adds 2022 EWC Le Mans 24 Hours bid to schedule

Former MotoGP rider Bradley Smith adds a bid for victory in the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours Endurance World Championship event to his MotoE World Cup efforts

Bradley Smith, Claudio Corti, Corentin Perolari - Moto Ain Yamaha

Former MotoGP rider Bradley Smith has announced he will make an appearance in the Endurance World Championship later this month after being added to the MOTO AIN Yamaha squad for the Le Mans 24 Hours event.

The Englisman - who has started 233 grands prix since making his debut in the 125cc class 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 that competes in Italy.

However, he will be back on the GP grid in 2022 as part of the RNF Racing MotoE World Cup squad, which kicks off with its opening round at Jerez on 30 April - 1 May.

Before that though he will compete as part of the French-flagged MOTO AIN team alongside Claudio Corti - with whom he created Project 109 - and ex-WorldSSP front runner Corentin Perolari. Though a first appearance for the Englishman at Le Mans, he has previously competed in and won the Suzuka 8 Hours.

“I’ve been racing from a young age and for the past two decades, I've been focused on reaching MotoGP, which is the ultimate racing championship. I am pretty happy with what I have achieved, but as a true lover of motorcycle racing, I also look around for other competitions.

"The 24 Heures Motos is one of the most famous endurance races around the world and the idea of racing for 24 hours non-stop seems to be a bit crazy if I'm honest.

"Last winter, when Pierre [Chapuis, team director] presented this opportunity to race at Le Mans, it caught my curiosity and I thought, ‘why not’?

"We have done several tests in Spain and the lap times were encouraging. The technical base of the Yamaha R1 is good, even if we miss some factory parts compared to our rivals."

With 119 starts in GP racing having come 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 roll back the years to where he achieved the first of his 29 career GP podiums.

Smith and Corti won’t be the only riders with MotoGP credentials competing at Le Mans, with the likes of Sylvain Guintoli, Xavier Simeon and Randy de Puniet also featuring on the entry list.