Ryuichi Kiyonari makes a dramatic return to British Superbike action this weekend at Croft as he lines up for the HM Plant Honda team with whom he has twice won the sport’s premier domestic crown, set to go head-to-head with Leon Camier.
Leon Camier is eager for an action replay of his winning ride at Croft of last season in his efforts to secure the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli but the Airwaves Yamaha rider, who has a comfortable lead in the title stakes, goes into the tenth round knowing that the action will be tough.
His rivals have re-grouped, with something of a re-shuffle of the pack. Hydrex Honda, who currently have Stuart Easton running third in the title stakes, adrift of Camier and his team-mate James Ellison, have dropped Karl Harris from their line-up after several disappointing results, and replaced him by former World Superbike rider Tommy Hill.
Hill impressed when he deputised for the injured Sylvain Guintoli aboard the Worx Crescent Suzuki but was left without a ride when the Frenchman returned at Cadwell Park putting in two strong performances, with the promise of better things to come at the North Yorkshire circuit.
Harris, a former winner of the Supersport crown, has meanwhile returned to the Rob McElnea equipe for whom he raced last year, taking over their Node 4 bike as a replacement for their injured rider Jon Kirkham.
The HM Plant Honda team meanwhile have their Australian Josh Brookes returning to action having served a two event ban, imposed on him after the Mallory Park round, and he is keen to make a big impression having tested at the circuit in readiness for these races.
“I am there to get results, to be back on the podium and to stay focussed on the final rounds,” said Brookes, adding: “At Knockhill I was running at the front, not that far off Camier and we had a bit of a scrap, so I want to come back here and challenge him again.”
Camier, who goes into these races with a massive 97.5 points lead in the series, over Ellison, has a settled team environment in which to work and he intends to use this to good effect to tighten his grip on the sport’s premier trophy which he believes will be a stepping stone to his graduation onto the World stage.
The two Airwaves rider have won all but one of the races between them so far, and they aim to maintain the pedigree in this round, with Ellison positive that he can rack up the points to keep second place in the standings out of reach of Easton.
Ryuichi Kiyonari makes a dramatic return to British Superbike action this weekend at Croft as he lines up for the HM Plant Honda team with whom he has twice won the sport’s premier domestic crown.
The Japanese rider, currently riding with the Ten Kate Honda team in World Superbikes, joins forces with Aussie Josh Brookes for the tenth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli at the North Yorkshire circuit.
Kiyonari replaces the team’s injured rider Glen Richards and is ready to take the fight for race victories to the series leading Leon Camier aboard the Airwaves Yamaha.
The GSE Racing equipe, who run the Airwaves bikes for Camier and James Ellison, know all about the strength of Kiyonari as he beat them to the title in both 2006 and 2007.
He has an impressive pedigree at Croft, the home round for Honda team sponsor’s HM Plant, winning four times, once in each of 2005 and 2006 and then taking the double, ahead of his team-mate Jonathan Rea in 2007.
“I’m really excited to be riding for the HM Plant Honda team again. I’m also very happy to race in BSB and especially at Croft. I love this circuit and won both races when I last raced there in 2007,” said Kiyonari.
There are other riders capable of springing surprises with Simon Andrews aboard the MSS Colchester Kawasaki along with John Laverty on the similar machine, running in Buildbase colours, while Chris Walker needs a strong result on the Motorpoint Henderson Yamaha as does Relentless Suzuki’s Ian Lowry.
Gary Mason, the clear leader in the Mirror.co.uk Cup, expects to add to his winning tally aboard the Quay Garage Honda, but under pressure from local favourite Tom Tunstall together with Peter Hickman and Martin Jessopp.