Three-time British Superbike Champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has announced he will sever his long-standing ties with Honda in favour of a switch to Buildbase BMW in 2014.
The 31-year-old, who won the title in 2006, 2007 and 2010, has been known as a Honda rider for almost the entirety of his career having competed in MotoGP, won races in World Superbikes and triumphed in four prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours events.
However, while Kiyonari remains one of the most successful riders in BSB history with 43 race wins, he struggled for consistent form during his most recent campaigns in 2011 and 2013, finishing sixth overall during the latter season as his less experienced team-mate Alex Lowes swept to the title.
Now, following the confirmation that Samsung Honda will not defend its BSB title in 2014, Kiyonari has announced he will nonetheless stay in British Superbikes and forge new ties with BMW as part of Stuart Hicken's Buildbase team, alongside James Westmoreland.
"It is always a difficult situation to move teams but I am very excited about joining Buildbase BMW,” he said. “I have been with Honda for a long time in my career so now this is a new and big challenge for me. I have never ridden a BMW before so it is all new but I know that the team and bike is very good and can get podiums. I am looking forward to testing now so that I can start to adapt to the BMW and be ready for the season."
Though BMW is yet to score a podium at BSB level, the manufacturer has reached the Title Showdown in each of the last two seasons with Tommy Bridewell and Westmoreland.