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British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari calls time on his MCE BSB career

Willis Marshall

TRIPLE MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has announced that he will return to Honda and the All Japan Road Race Championship in 2017 with Moriwaki Racing, calling time on his illustrious MCE BSB career.

Kiyonari has lined up in 237 MCE BSB races, winning 50 and celebrating a further 44 podium finishes on his way to claiming three titles, putting him second on the list for all-time championship victories. Kiyonari will again feature at the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race, an event that he has won four times already during his career.

Kiyonari said: “I am really excited to be back in the Japanese Championship and back with Honda. To be honest, it took me some time 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.”

MCE British Superbike Championship series director Stuart Higgs commented: “Kiyonari’s not unexpected return to full time racing in Japan brings down the curtain on an illustrious BSB career.

“It’s been an enormous pleasure to preside over his BSB successes and we all wonder what might have been in 2014.’’

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