Former champion Ryuichi Kiyonari will make a full-time return to the British Superbike Championship in 2010 after Honda announced it will commit to the series for another season.
Kiyonari, who won 34 races in the four years he competed at BSB level, will join forces with Brookes, the Australian signing a second-year deal with the HM Plant team.
After winning both the 2006 and 2007 British Superbike Championship, Kiyonari defected to the world championship in 2008, but while he enjoyed race-winning success in his first season with Ten Kate Honda, he struggled for form this year.
As such, Kiyonari, who hinted at a return after a one-off outing for HM Plant Honda at Croft earlier this season, will attempt to re-establish himself with a sensational return to the domestic championship, the Japanese rider following in the footsteps of Yukio Kagayama and Neil Hodgson in pledging his immediate future to BSB.
“I'm looking forward to being back in BSB and working with the team again," Kiyonari said. "I had a happy time with them when I was here before and so I am really exciting to be back.
“I don't know what to expect as BSB is never easy but I will be giving everything to win races."
Brookes, meanwhile, returns for a second season of Superbike racing after a maiden campaign fraught with controversy, including a suspension for his part in an accident at Mallory Park. Despite this, Brookes managed to establish himself as a regular front runner by the end of the season and will go into 2010 searching for a debut victory.
Honda's announcement shortly before the turn of the year ends speculation that it was considering withdrawing from the BSB and will come as a significant boost for a series that is already facing the loss of its title-winning team.
Additionally, title sponsor HM Plant has reaffirmed its commitment to the team by backing a two-rider entry in BSB and a bike in the Superstock series for reigning British Supersport champion Steve Plater [see separate story]
“I'm pleased to confirm Honda's commitment to the British Superbike Championship for 2010 and also the team's continued relationship with HM Plant,” said Steve Martindale, general manager of Honda Motorcycles. “The British Superbike Championship is very strong and the high standard of rider talent and racing can be seen at every round.”
HM Plant Chairman, John Jones, added, “We have been delighted with our relationship with Honda and the exposure achieved from the HM Plant Honda team partnership over the last six years and look forward to that continuing with some great and exciting racing in 2010.”