Crash.Net BSB News
Kiyonari returns, Lowes joins Samsung Honda
10 December 2012
Ryuichi Kiyonari will return to the MCE British Superbike Championship in pursuit of a record-breaking fourth series title after he was announced alongside Alex Lowes in Samsung Honda's all-new 2013 rider line-up.
Kiyonari is the most successful rider to compete in the British Superbike Championship having won the 2006, 2007 and 2010 BSB titles with Honda during a tenure that also yielded a series leading 43 wins.
Returning to the British racing scene after a season spent competing in Asia, Kiyonari's quest for a fourth BSB title puts him head-to-head with reigning champion Shane Byrne, who is not only also looking to make it four career titles, but is just two wins shy of the Japanese rider's victory tally too.
Hoping to show stronger form than he did during a faltering 2011 title defence campaign, when he managed just two wins and sixth overall, Kiyonari is delighted to be back in the BSB paddock once more, adding that he is particularly motivated by the impending competition with 'Shakey'.
“I am very, very happy to be back because I have missed BSB so much. I want to be better than before. I miss the championship: the races, the fans, the team – all of it and that is why I have returned. I know that next season is very important for me and I need to get results and wins because I don't want it to be like last time (2011).
“I want to be challenging again like when I won the title before. I have to give more than one hundred percent and I want a fourth title to show that I can do it again. I want to show what I can still do; I want to win more titles. My aim is for more wins and be champion again.
“I don't know if I will be a target, I think the riders will want to beat Shakey. I don't care about looking at other riders, because I just want to win and that is what I will focus on.”
Lowes, meanwhile, steps up to the factory-assisted Samsung Honda team after a breakthrough campaign in 2012 saw him make the 'Title Showdown', manage four consecutive pole positions and secure a marvellous double victory at Silverstone on the way to fourth overall.
An in-demand figure during the off-season, Lowes is pleased to be staying on Honda machinery (following WFR Honda's withdrawal) and is confident he can mount a season-long challenge in 2013.
“It is obviously a great opportunity for me to join Samsung Honda and I am ready to give it everything,” he said. “I had a great season on the Honda last year and I think my style suits the Fireblade and I feel comfortable pushing it. The team have a lot of experience and we want to win the championship; they are a strong team and I think we are in a really good position to try and win that back.
“This is my best chance now that I have had a couple of seasons in BSB, now I just need to come out and be consistent from the start. I want to pick up where I left off last year and then we should be in a position ready for the end of the season and the Showdown. I want to be winning more races next year as I definitely think I am in a position now to be going for the title.”
As well as retaining Samsung backing for 2013, Honda's line-up for next year will include a return to British Supersport competition with Jason O'Halloran on the CBR600RR. The Australian finished runner-up for Samsung Honda behind Keith Farmer in the National Superstock 1000 Championship in 2012.
“It is an interesting direction to move into British Supersport for me but I have experience in that class - winning the Australian Supersport Championship in 2007 was a highlight of my career. I am excited to get on the new 2013 CBR600RR and it is the ideal time to make a statement in the championship with a new bike, which I am sure I can make.”
Samsung Honda competed with Michael Laverty and Jon Kirkham in 2012. Laverty will race in MotoGP with PBM next year, while Kirkham has switched to Buildbase BMW.