In a move certain to please his many British fans, Yukio Kagayama will return to the British Superbike Championship in 2004, once again riding a Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Kagayama made a huge impression in his debut BSB season in 2003, winning the hearts of the fans for his gutsy performances, edge-of-the-seat riding technique and three race victories on tracks he had never visited before.

However, his season was cut short by a horrific accident at Cadwell Park in August where he broke his pelvis in two places, but the 29-year-old is recovering well and looking forward to returning to his racing home in the UK.

"I can't wait to be back in Britain and see my fans. My true fans are in Britain and I want to thank them for helping me through my recovery," enthused Yuki. "For them I will win as many races as possible. Maybe if I win enough races I will challenge for the title, but I'm sure my team mate John-san might have something to say about that.

"Britain is my racing home. I love living in the UK, the lifestyle and the people. The Crescent team is very professional and I am happy to be given another chance by the Suzuki Company to race in BSB. I feel I have unfinished business," he continued.

"My injuries are healing well. I am still in hospital now but it is more like a job than recovery. I am in hospital through the week and then they let me go home at weekends. I can feel the improvements in my body and condition and all I can think of is racing. Sometimes I wake up in the night and all I am dreaming about is racing in the UK again.

"The doctors say I will be okay for racing in March and I know in my mind I will be able to race at the front. Several years ago I crashed during a GP in France and was very badly injured, but I got back on a bike and was faster than ever. The same will happen again, I am sure, I know this because racing is my life," concluded the Japanese.

Yuki joins Nottingham-based 2004 pre-season favourite John Reynolds in the official Crescent Suzuki race team. The team will be making announcements regarding its title sponsorship plans and technical staff structure shortly.

"There was never any question from the team whether we wanted Yuki to ride for us or not - he was always on our A-team list with JR and talk of other riders has been pure speculation," said team manager Paul Denning. "We needed to wait to hear from the doctors on his progress back from injury, whether or not he would be able to compete again and the good news is that everything appears to be on course for Yuki coming back fit and as determined as ever to do well.

"Yuki is the sort of rider who lifts the entire team's spirits and keeps us all going. Having him back will be fantastic. Not to mention that now he knows the circuits and the bike, he should be a real title contender in 2004. JR will have to keep an eye on Yuki and I expect both of them to be going for race wins week in and out."
The Suzuki Motor Corporation will continue to employ Kagayama as its Factory test rider and is placing him in the British Championship for a second year in recognition of the importance of the series.

"The Suzuki dream team is back for 2004 and we can't wait to get the season started," stated Nick Barnes, general manager Suzuki GB. "JR won the second half of the 2003 series after recovering from a broken collarbone and Yuki was on course for second or third in the series until his injury stopped him, so both of them still have points to prove.

"The Crescent-prepared GSX-R1000 Superbike continues to be the bike to beat and with two fit riders, we are going to be hard to beat. I am looking forward to a good year for Suzuki in 2004," he added.

 

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