Having completed a near mission impossible to secure its 2022 EWC programme, plus the riding qualities of Claudio Corti, Corentin Perolari and former MotoGP star Bradley Smith, Moto Ain’s high hopes of a successful start to its campaign were boosted further when it qualified seventh for the big race – a two-place grid rise compared to 2021 – with a 1m36.731s best.
However, with Smith momentarily delayed starting the race and moving slower as a result, Christophe Seigneur was unable to avoid colliding with the Briton on the charge to the first corner.
Although Seigneur could walk back to the pits, Smith was taken to hospital for medical checks as a result of the substantial rear impact, having received immediate medical attention at the side of the track when the field circulated under safety car conditions. It was subsequently confirmed that he suffered no serious injuries but will require a period of rest and recovery.
Despite the severity of the accident, the Moto Ain mechanics took less than 40 minutes to get its Yamaha back into the race after replacing myriad parts.
While Corti and Perolari both lapped competitively during their respective stints, with the bike not at full working order and with the team down from three to two riders, Moto Ain Team Director Pierre Chapuis took the difficult decision to withdraw.
“I am very satisfied and happy with qualifying but much less with the race,” Chapuis said. “We could do something great, we had the potential but it lasted only a few seconds in fact. Bradley is in the hospital. The bike is damaged. Corentin, Claudio and the rest of the team are really very disappointed by this fact. But the most important thing is that Bradley is unscathed and able to return to the circuits soon. It will take several weeks, that’s for sure, but he will get back on his feet. On our side, we will take stock of the damage, dismantle and reassemble our motorcycles to go and defend our colours in Spa.”
The 24H SPA EWC Motos takes place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps from 2-5 June.