Three-time British Superbike Champion aboard Honda machinery, Ryuichi Kiyonari, makes a much-anticipated return to the team with which he enjoyed so much success, taking British championship titles in 2006, 2007 and 2010. Kiyonari is tied on overall championships with reigning British Superbike Champion, Shane Byrne – both riders with three championships to their name – and with that, the 2013 season is already shaping up to be a titanic battle for overall supremacy as both riders challenge to be the one who adds a fourth to their tally.
He is joined in the Samsung Honda team by the young, hard-charging Alex Lowes, a rider bristling with talent and ambition. He was the one to watch during the 2012 championship Showdown, taking four podiums and a double race win at Silverstone, with arguably the move of the season to take victory in the second Superbike race of the day. Lowes is a rider who is also more than capable of mounting a challenge on the 2013 British Superbike crown.
Both Ryuichi Kiyonari and Alex Lowes will compete in the British Superbike class aboard the legendary CBR1000RR Fireblade. In addition, Honda (UK) is pleased to announce a return in an official capacity to the British Supersport Championship with the Samsung Honda team. The new-for-2013 CBR600RR will be piloted in the series by the versatile and supremely fast Jason O’Halloran. Jason has experience riding Honda machinery in a variety of top-flight championships including British Superbikes and the Endurance World Championship. He was also runner up in the tightly-contested British Superstock 1000 championship in 2012 for the Samsung Honda team.
Ryuichi Kiyonari: “I am so happy to be returning to this team and to this championship. I have had great success in this series and am keen to repeat this once again. I really love the British fans and feel at home here. They love their racing in the UK and really get behind the riders. I have been away for a year and have had time to think about a lot of things. I kept coming back to the idea that I wanted to race in the UK again and am really fired up for the challenge and about the prospect of a fourth championship title!”
Alex Lowes: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining the official Honda team for the 2013 season. They are well established and the most successful team in the BSB paddock. I really do believe that in this team I will have the package to help me further develop as a rider and to fight for podiums, race wins and also for the championship. I know the Fireblade well, having ridden it in BSB this season and also in World Superbikes in 2011 and I feel like it is my bike. It’s my time to shine and can’t wait to get started.”
Jason O’Halloran: “It is an interesting direction to move into British Supersport for me but I have experience in that class, winning the Australian Supersport Championship in 2007 was a highlight of my career. I really enjoy riding the smaller bike and in many ways my style is suited to Supersport. I am excited to get on the new-for-2013 CBR600RR and it is the ideal time to make a statement in the championship with a new bike, which I am sure I can make.”
Team Manager, Havier Beltran: “We are very happy to announce what we think is a supremely strong rider line-up in both Superbike and Supersport. With Kiyo returning we know we have a rider who is a proven winner and we hope to get the best out of him once again. Alex Lowes is a young, exciting rider on so many levels and has the potential to become one of the greats. With Jason, you know what you get, hard-work, dedication and above all speed. He is the ideal rider to spearhead the Supersport programme, a championship we last competed in, and won in 2009, and want to win again! We have a hunger for more silverware and are confident we have the right people in place in the team to make this happen.”
The Samsung Honda team, now entering their second year of partnership with title sponsor Samsung, begin their UK based testing programme in March 2013, ahead of the first race of the season from 5-7 April at Brands Hatch, Kent.
For further information, images, videos and behind the scenes access to the Samsung Honda team and its riders, visit www.honda-racing.co.uk follow /samsunghonda on Facebook or @samsunghonda on Twitter.