Ex-MotoGP rider Bradley Smith hospitalised by huge Le Mans 24H startline smash

Ex-MotoGP rider Bradley Smith spends a night in hospital but escapes serious injury after being struck by a rider just seconds into the EWC Le Mans 24 Hours

Bradley Smith accident EWC

Ex-MotoGP rider Bradley Smith has escaped without serious injuries after being caught up in an accident at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the opening round of the 2022 Endurance World Championship.

The British rider was making a guest appearance in the EWC curtain raiser as part of the four-rider MOTO AIN Yamaha squad when he was caught up in a collision just moments after the round-the-clock centrepiece kicked off.

Though the TV feed didn’t catch the accident itself, it is understood Smith got away slowly from seventh on the grid and was struck hard from behind by Christophe Seigneur on the Seigneur BMW, sending both down.

Leaving him stricken to the side of the circuit just prior to the Turn 1 right-hand sweep, Smith was attended to by medical teams before being transferred to hospital.

An update from EWC confirmed he has suffered no serious injuries and remained conscious, though he remained in hospital for an overnight stay as a precaution.

Unlike most grid-slot based starts, the beginning of EWC races involves the lead rider sprinting from one side of the track to the pit wall to jump on and start their machines. 

Smith - who was due to share the Yamaha R1 with Claudio Corti and Corentin Perolari - wasn’t the only Yamaha rider to suffer problems getting away with pole man Karel Hanika losing a lot of time after his R1 struggles to fire up.

With eight remaining on the clock, defending champions Yoshimura SERT Suzuki held the lead with Sylvain Guintoli, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon