World endurance motorcycling champion Anthony Delhalle was killed Thursday after crashing on a rain-soaked circuit in testing, a spokesman for the Nogaro circuit in south-west France announced.
The 35-year-old, father of two, was practising ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race, when he lost control of his Suzuki as he took a bend.
As the bike barrel-rolled numerous times on the saturated grass surface, Delhalle was unseated and suffered serious head injuries.
"He took a bend too wide, the rear wheel went into the grass where it had rained heavily. He fell heavily on his head and suffered a fractured spine," Caroline Diviès, the circuit's director general, told AFP.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) team manager Christophe Guyot wrote on Facebook: "The motorcycle had no technical fault. Anthony fell as happens so often in our sport."
Delhalle was a five-time world champion in the sport in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.