Three-time British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari will make his return to the series in 2013 after re-signing for Havier Beltran’s Samsung Honda squad. Kiyonari is the most successful rider in BSB history, holding the record for most wins, and is tied with Shane Byrne in terms of championships. With Byrne preparing to defend his title with Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, the two look set to renew their rivalry in 2013.
Kiyonari struggled in his final season before leaving the series in 2011 but after a year away, the Japanese rider is refreshed and ready for more success.
“I am so happy to be returning to this team and to this championship. I have had great success in this series and am keen to repeat this once again. I really love the British fans and feel at home here. They love their racing in the UK and really get behind the riders. I have been away for a year and have had time to think about a lot of things. I kept coming back to the idea that I wanted to race in the UK again and am really fired up for the challenge and about the prospect of a fourth championship title!”
Kiyonari faces a tough challenge from within as Alex Lowes joins him as teammate. The youngster enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2012, claiming his first race victory and challenging for the title into the final round and with Samsung Honda, Lowes hopes to make another step forward.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining the official Honda team for the 2013 season. They are well established and the most successful team in the BSB paddock. I really do believe that in this team I will have the package to help me further develop as a rider and to fight for podiums, race wins and also for the championship. I know the Fireblade well, having ridden it in BSB this season and also in World Superbikes in 2011 and I feel like it is my bike. It’s my time to shine and can’t wait to get started.”