Triple British Superbike Champion Ryuichi Kiyonari is set to return to the series in 2013. Honda Racing UK, who have renewed their deal with Samsung will run the ‘06/’07/’10 champion alongside young hot shot Alex Lowes.
Kiyonari won all three of his titles with Honda Racing UK under the HM Plant banner and is returning to BSB to defend his record for the most-ever-BSB wins, which is under threat from Shane Byrne. Both Kiyo and Byrne will be fighting for a record fourth BSB championship title. Kiyonari first left BSB after winning his second title, to compete in the World Superbike Championship, after two bizarre years in which Kiyonari had a difficult time despite taking several race wins and podiums he returned to the British Superbike Championship with his old team. He had a difficult start to 2010, however sheer consistency and the showdown took Kiyo to his third BSB title as Tommy Hill went down the road in flames. Kiyonari had less luck in 2011, an array of personal issues and not getting on with the bike led to him only just making the showdown top 6 and leaving BSB for a second (and what people thought would be final) time. Kiyonari won the 2012 Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship in his sabbatical year and now feels he is ready to take on the British Championship once again.
Lowes finished fourth in the 2012 BSB championship on the WFR Honda after his form towards the end of the season was nothing but incredible. Two insane wins at Silverstone made the youngster a serious threat for the title, however crashes at Brands Hatch saw the end to that. Alex was quick from the off, in his debut for BSB with WFR Honda in the EVO category in 2010, even leading a race at one point. He continued to show his promise when he split from the team and scored pole position for Nick Morgan’s MSS squad at Thruxton. However, crashes would always prevent Lowes from getting very good results. Lowes has been quoted saying in 2012, the key to his success was “calming down a bit”. WFR Honda had strongly suggested they would run in BSB for 2013 however they later decided to pull out, leaving Lowes without a ride.
Samsung Honda ran Michael Laverty and Jon Kirkham last year. Laverty has made the brave decision to challenge the MotoGP CRT class on Paul Bird’s machine whilst Kirkham has signed for Buildbase BMW.
See the full updated list of BSB riders here.