This weekend's opening round of the 2004 British Superbike championship will mark the return of Rizla Suzuki's Yukio Kagayama - seriously injured seven months ago at Cadwell Park.

The Japanese hero is still battling to regain full fitness, but has confounded sceptics who thought he might never race again and has returned to the UK determined to battle for BSB glory.

"I really like Silverstone, it is a Yuki track. I have good memories of Silverstone and I got my first BSB podium at this circuit last year," said Kagayama on the eve of the new season.

"It is a fast and flowing track and I hope that I will be fit enough to challenge in both races for the podium," he added. "I am still training very hard and my head is already winning races, now I must see if my body can keep up. I hope to see my fans again this weekend!"

Team-mate John Reynolds has no such injury concerns and the top point scorer in the second half of the 2003 season can barely hide his confidence heading into Silverstone.

"The talking stops now and it's time to see who is going to be a serious contender for the title in 2004. I am not going to Silverstone to make up the numbers, I am there for one reason only and that is to win races," he declared. "Our Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 is better than last year and I feel fitter and faster than ever before. It is a long season, but I still want to start with a couple of victories as I go for my third BSB title.

JR is focussed on making a better start to 2004 than he managed at the opening round of the 2003 season when he broke his collarbone in qualifying and never made the start line.

"Last year I crashed and missed the racing because of a broken collarbone, but that is history. I am more determined than ever to get racing and winning," he said.

"Our bike is ahead of where it was at the end of 2003 and we hope that will provide our two world-class riders the platform for them to challenge for the race victories at Silverstone. I speak for the entire team when I say we really can't wait to get racing again!" added team manager Paul Denning.

The first Superbike race starts at 1:15pm and the second at 15:45pm on Sunday, March 28th, at the Silverstone International circuit.

 

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