Ryuichi Kiyonari is confident he is due for a 'better year' in 2014 as he gets ready to make his much anticipated debut on BMW machinery during the British Superbike Championship opener at Brands Hatch.
The three-time BSB champion will be one of the talking points of the curtain raiser in Kent having opted for a switch to Buildbase BMW this season, bringing to an end a long-standing relationship with Honda that stretches back to his early days of racing.
After a disappointing 2013 season on the Samsung Honda as he battled set-up issues, Kiyonari admits he had reservations about adapting to the S1000RR, but has been happy with his progress so far.
"I am looking forward to Brands Hatch and finally racing the BMW for the first time as we are happy after the tests,” he told the BSB website. “At Donington they were the first laps really after just a small amount of laps at Mallory Park to begin with and for me I was surprised with the BMW straight away.
“Before the tests I was thinking a lot about how different it would be compared to the Honda and how it would feel and was even nervous but I am happy that I have been able to get some good confidence already and feel like I can still go faster.”
Indeed, Kiyonari has shown encouraging form on the bike – which is yet to score a podium at BSB level -, having largely matched the pace of team-mate James Westmoreland.
"Snetterton was going well for me and then I had a stupid crash and I felt bad for the team because we had done a lot of good work there with suspension and the chassis so I am disappointed that I couldn't try and improve my time at the end of the test.
“I am excited about Brands Hatch because it is possible to make big improvements with the bike and this is positive for the first round, especially because of the Indy circuit. Everything is feeling good and I think this will be a better year for me."