Reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari says he will dedicate a victory at the Brands Hatch British Superbike season opener to the people of Japan.
The Japanese HM Plant Honda rider has spoken of his shock following the tsunami and earthquake which devastated parts of his homeland two weeks ago.
Kiyonari, born in Saitama, near Tokyo, flew to Britain earlier this month in preparation for the new season and was only joined by his wife and child two weeks ago. With Japan heavily involved in motorcycle racing, the effects of the disaster have been felt by teams all over the world.
Deeply shocked by the situation in Japan, Kiyonari says he plans to dedicate a victory at Brands Hatch next month to the plight of the his fellow countrymen.
He said: “It is very shocking to see what is happening in Japan now, it is a very bad situation and it is sad to see the news. Some of the places on the news are places I know or have been to and there is so much devastation – it is just a shock for me and my family. I have spoken to some of my friends and family in Japan and they have been affected but at the moment not as bad as others.”
“My home in Japan is ok from the outside, but inside there is some damage, but I am just happy that my wife and baby came to the UK on the Thursday before it happened. I am sad for those who have lost friends and family this week and I am going to try and win the first race at Brands Hatch to dedicate to the people back home, who have lost so much.”
Kiyonari and the Louth-based HM Plant Honda team have looked quick in pre-season testing and will be among the favourites to kick-off the new season with a victory.