Ryuichi Kiyonari has confirmed he will be fit enough to participate in the final round of the World Superbike Championship after breaking his collarbone at Magny-Cours.
Kiyonari was forced to miss the second race in France after a fall in the opening encounter left him with a broken collarbone, but while doubts were raised about whether he would be able to compete in his final event for Ten Kate Honda, the Japanese rider insists he will be there.
A winner of three races in his maiden WSBK season with the team last year, Kiyonari admits he has endured problems throughout his sophomore season. Nonetheless, he is determined to shrug off the injury and bow out of the team on a high.
“I have been recovering in Japan, after breaking my collarbone again at the last round in Magny-Cours,” he said. “It was a shame because I felt that we were beginning to find some improvement and a better feeling on the bike. It has been a difficult season and, at times, I have had some problems finding the right setting, but I want to try my best to finish the season with some good results.
“I struggled a little bit at Portimao last year, but I think that was because it was a new circuit for me. I like the layout very much and we went back for testing in January, although the weather was not so good. I hope my shoulder will be OK this weekend so that I can do my best for the team.”
Ronald ten Kate also paid tribute to Kiyonari, who is currently 11th in the standings, branding him as a great rider.
“It's been a tough season – there is no getting away from that. However, in recent races, Kiyonari-san has shown signs of finding a setting on the CBR1000RR with which he is comfortable. Unfortunately, we have struggled to convert that into good qualifying positions, which, in turn, has led to some problems during the races.
“Kiyo was trying to make up some ground during race one at Magny-Cours and ended up crashing and breaking his collarbone again. We hope that his injury will not prevent him from ending the season and his time as a Ten Kate rider with a strong performance.
“Kiyo is a great rider and a great ambassador for the sport and we have really enjoyed working with him for these last two years.”
While fellow ousted Ten Kate Honda rider Carlos Checa has confirmed a deal for 2010 with Althea Ducati, Kiyonari is yet to have finalised his plans.