Three-time MCE British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has signed for Moriwaki Racing Honda in the Japanese Road Race Championship in 2017, marking an end to his time in BSB.
With 50 race wins, a further 44 rostrums and his three titles, Kiyonari is the second-most successful rider in BSB history. After starting 2016 with the Halsall Racing-run Bennetts Suzuki squad before switching to Smiths BMW, Kiyonari has opted to stay in his native Japan to compete in the national series plus the Suzuka 8 Hours.
"I am really excited to be back in the Japanese Championship and back with Honda,” Kiyonari said. “To be honest, it took me sometime to make this decision. I have been racing longer in BSB than any other series, and the UK has been my home for long time.
"I had to choose from the offers I got from teams in BSB, and from Japan, and it was the hardest decision to make. But Moriwaki is a well-known team with a long history in racing, and their future plans matched well with what I wanted to do. Being able to return to Honda, also played an important role in this decision. I will be pairing with Yuki (Takahashi) at the Suzuka 8 Hours, and I am already looking forward to it.
"I would like to thank all the teams and riders in BSB, to MSVR and Stuart Higgs, and to all the fans in the UK for the support they have given me. I will be back in the BSB! I will be racing in a different place next year, but I hope they will continue to support me. And to the Japanese fans, I am happy to return to Japan, and that I will be able to ride in front of them."