Ryuichi Kiyonari has agreed a deal to race for Smiths BMW for the remaining four rounds of the MCE British Superbike championship starting at next weekend's triple-header at Oulton Park.
The three-time BSB champion split from Bennetts Suzuki after round seven at Brands Hatch having struggled to take his charge to the sharp end of the grid.
Kiyonari will return to BMW machinery with which he fought for the 2014 BSB title against Shane Byrne before breaking his collarbone in warm-up at the championship decider.
“I am happy to be back for Oulton Park with BMW and I am hungry to end the season with good results - I want to try and win again and fight for podiums, and so far this year hasn't been easy,” Kiyonari said. “I had a good test with the team so I could work with them for the first time and already we made some good changes with the setting and I enjoyed riding the BMW again. It has a different engine and chassis feeling to the BMW I raced before, but already I have a good feeling which is important.
“It is good that my first race with the team is at Oulton Park as I have won many times there and had strong results, so I hope we can make a good start to the final rounds of the season there. I want to thank my sponsors and also Alan and Rebecca for this opportunity and I am looking forward to Oulton Park.”
Smiths Racing team manager Rebecca Smith says the squad is relishing the opportunity of working with the former champion who has 50 race wins to his name and is hoping together they can fight towards the front.
“We are really excited by the opportunity to work with Kiyo for the remainder of 2016,” Smith said. “It goes without saying that we haven't had the greatest of seasons and despite investing heavily in the development of the bike we have been unable to achieve results.
“Kiyo has proven that he can compete on a BMW and as one of the most successful riders in the British Championship everyone in the team is relishing the opportunity to work with him. On top of all of that we've already got him reading The Farmers Weekly!”