Watanabe joins TAS.

Current Rizla Suzuki rider Atsushi Watanabe will join Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing for the 2009 Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

Watanabe, who arrived in BSB this season as the reigning Japanese Superbike champion, has taken a best finish of just seventh and currently sits 15th in the championship standings with one round to go.

"I am very grateful to Crescent for bringing me to the British Superbike series. I have learnt much this year that I hope I will be able to use to get good results next season," he said.

"I'm now very excited to be joining the Relentless Suzuki team for 2009," added the Japanese. "I am aware of their past results and pedigree, both in British championship and also in international road racing, so I am confident that we can move forward together in 2009 with the all-new GSX-R1000 Suzuki."

"We are very pleased to have secured Atsushi's services for the 2009 British Superbike Championship and we look forward to welcoming, both he and his wife, to our base in Northern Ireland," commented TAS team principle Philip Neill. "We trust they will enjoy the Irish hospitality and also our way of life.

"Atsushi is obviously an immensely talented rider, indicated not only by his results, but also by his status in Japan with Suzuki. He brings a wealth of experience to our team and his development experience throughout the GSX-R range, will I'm sure, prove to be invaluable.

"Everyone at TAS Racing is excited about this new chapter and we're already looking forward to testing and developing the 2009 GSX-R1000 with Atsushi in the coming months."

With Tom Sykes already confirmed as moving to the World Superbike Championship next season, Rizla Suzuki will thus field two new riders in 2009.

"Atsu is one of the nicest people I have ever met but unfortunately he will not be racing for our team in 2009," said Rizla team manager Jack Valentine. "The whole team thanks him for his efforts and wishes him the very best for the future."

Michael Laverty is currently ninth in the 2008 BSB standings for Relentless Suzuki by TAS.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
14. Atsushi Watanabe Rizla Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000 K8
Andy Reid, Tyco BMW, [Credit: TAS Racing]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: TAS Racing]
Tyco BMW bikes, Motorcycle Live [Credit: TAS Racing]
Josh Brookes Tyco Suzuki - picture credit
Taylor Mackenzie joins TAS Suzuki in BSS (Pic: Suzuki)
ALISTARE SEELEY TYCO TAS SUZUKI - [picture credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
JOSH BROOKES TYCO TAS SUZUKI- [picture credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
JOSH BROOKES TYCO TAS SUZUKI - [picture credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Josh Brookes, Tyco TAS Suzuki
Josh Brookes - Relentless by TAS [pic credit: Jim Higgs]
Josh Brookes - Relentless by TAS [pic credit: Jim Higgs]
Josh Brookes - Relentless by TAS [pic credit: Jim Higgs]
Josh Brookes - Relentless by TAS [pic credit: Jim Higgs]
Josh Brookes - Relentless by TAS [pic credit: Jim Higgs]
Josh Brookes - Relentless by TAS Suzuki [pic credit: Jamie Morris]
Ian Lowry - Relentless by TAS Suzuki [pic credit: Relentless by TAS Suzuki]
Ian Lowry - Relentless by TAS Suzuki [pic credit: Relentless by TAS Suzuki]

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Andrew Long

October 07, 2008 12:10 PM

I would imagine that Suzuki are paying him to be in the series and you have the guy in your team as a condition of running factory bikes. He has been a disappointment compared with Haga and Kagayama and probably Rizla have moved him to get some real racers onboard. Seems like a sensible move to me and means that TAS probably get a free rider and some more factory parts

GoSlow - Unregistered

October 07, 2008 2:16 PM

Yep, definitely a move to draw in the better equipment. Although if Watanabe is one of these guys who takes a season to learn tracks TAS may have a contender on there hands. Look at previous Japanese champs, Kiyo, Yukio, Tamada..... no push overs... :)

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