Triple MCE Insurance British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has announced he will not participate in the 2017 MCE BSB, instead returning to the All Japan Road Racing Championship with Moriwaki Racing on Honda Machinery.
One of the most successful riders in the history of the Championship, the rider lined the grid of 237 races, winning fifty and bagging a further 44 podium finishes - achieving three titles along the way.
Kiyonari, by his own recognition, hasn't been up to the standard that he is evidently capable of in the last couple of years, and he has therefore made the decision to step away from the Championship - leaving behind a fantastic legacy.
Kiyonari said: 'I am really excited to be back in the Japanese Championship and back with Honda. To be honest, it took me sometime to make this decision. I have been racing longer in the MCE 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 the MCE 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 the MCE 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 MCE 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.'
21.12.2016 - Big Ed