Though there are still plenty of places on the British Superbike grid to be confirmed, the 2013 season is already taking an exciting shape following the announcement that Ryuichi Kiyonari and Shane Byrne will go head-to-head for a record-breaking fourth title win.

Kiyonari's return to BSB competition with Samsung Honda is a welcome boost for the series following the loss of Tommy Hill, who is taking a sabbatical in 2013, while reigning champion Byrne's decision to turn down a MotoGP ride with PBM sets up an intriguing duel for honour between the series' most successful riders.

Naturally, the title battle isn't necessarily going to come down to just two riders though, with Josh Brookes hoping for third time lucky on the Suzuki after finishing runner-up in 2012, while Alex Lowes steps up to the factory Honda team after an impressive year on the WFR machine.

Meanwhile, the new-look Shaun Muir Racing, now racing in Milwaukee Yamaha colours, welcomes back James Ellison to the fold, where he will be joined by one of several exciting newcomers to the series, Australian Superbike Champion Josh Waters.

He will battle for 'rookie' honours with Keith Farmer and PJ Jacobsen, who both land plum rides with Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki and Tyco Suzuki respectively after impressive turns at Superstock 1000 level in 2012.

As it stands, notable absentees from the grid include Supersonic BMW - and its star rider Tommy Bridewell -, the Italian team rumoured to be struggling for budget despite a strong debut in 2012, while Noriyuki Haga isn't expected to return after a disappointing debut year with Swan Yamaha and Team WFR has also withdrawn.

The 2013 MCE British Superbike Championship begins on 5-7 April.

2013 British Superbike Championship grid (as of 2/1/2013)

Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki
Shane Byrne
Keith Farmer

Tyco Suzuki
Josh Brookes
PJ Jacobsen

Milwaukee Yamaha
James Ellison
Josh Waters

Samsung Honda
Ryuichi Kiyonari
Alex Lowes

Quattro Plant Kawasaki
Chris Walker
Danny Buchan

Splitlath Redmond Aprilia
Jakub Smrz
Mark Aitchison

Buildbase BMW
James Westmoreland
Jon Kirkham

GBmoto Honda
Peter Hickman
Dan Linfoot

PR Kawasaki
Karl Harris

Two Wheel Racing Honda
Jenny Tinmouth

A Plant Suzuki
Aaron Zanotti