Market Rasen riders confirm 2016 British Superbikes plans

Ryuichi Kiyonari is switching to the Bennetts Suzuki team for 2016 EMN-150412-091035002
Ryuichi Kiyonari is switching to the Bennetts Suzuki team for 2016 EMN-150412-091035002

Market Rasen Superbike rider Ryuichi Kiyonari is set for a change of scene for the 2016 racing season after switching to the Bennetts Suzuki team.

Meanwhile, fellow Rasen rider Jason O’Halloran will remain with the Louth-based Honda race team for his next assault on the British Superbikes Championship.

Jason O'Halloran continues to recover from his crash which wrecked a promising 2015 campaign EMN-150412-091025002

Jason O'Halloran continues to recover from his crash which wrecked a promising 2015 campaign EMN-150412-091025002

Kiyonari is to team up with Tommy Bridewell in Martin Halsall’s British Superbike team and is determined to battle for a place in the end-of-season Showdown.

The Japanese star is one of the most successful MCE BSB riders of all time, celebrating three titles and an incredible 50 race wins in the championship and is hungry for a new challenge next season.

Kiyo is relishing the switch to Suzuki, having claimed a podium finish for the manufacturer when he first experienced the GSX-R1000 at the prestigious Suzuka Eight-Hour event earlier this year.

“This is a new challenge for me: a new team, a different bike and I think this is what I needed for next year,” he said.

“I have spoken a lot with Martin [Halsall] and some of the team members and I am really excited for the first test, the first event and the first race.

“I have only raced a Suzuki at the Eight-Hour and it was a good bike, so I’m looking forward to our first test.

“The Suzuki is a really good package and the bike has similar characteristics to what I have raced with other manufactures in the past. I know it won’t be easy because it never is, but the team is strong and we want to be on the podium and win races.

“I am training really hard here [in Japan] and when you have a bad year like last season it makes me more determined to change it.

“I want to come back and fight again. I think this change will help me to do that so I need to thank Martin and the team.

“Racing is my life and I am really happy to stay in BSB next season.”

O’Halloran returns to action with Honda Racing aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.

The Australian is continuing his recovery from injury ahead of his sixth season with Honda and his second in the Superbike category. The 27-year-old previously competed for the manufacturer in the British Supersport and National Superstock 1000 Championships.

O’Halloran had been holding a position inside the top six in the standings, including a double podium finish at Snetterton, before his crash at Thruxton left him sidelined with a broken femur and left hand.

He said: “I’m really pleased to be staying with Honda, in what will be my sixth year with them.

“To have their support after my injury and missing the second half of the season has kept me going and makes me just want to come back stronger than ever.

“When I got injured I was lying fifth in the championship, finding my feet and felt like I could have secured a place in the Showdown, so it was a huge blow to myself and the team that I was forced to pull out.

“It’s been a tough few months recovering from the injuries, but these things either make or break you, and I am probably stronger now than I have ever been, and can’t wait to get back on my Fireblade for testing in the New Year.

He added: “I think going into 2016 we’re in a better position than we were this year. We learnt a lot during the first few rounds and I think we can have a strong championship and the Showdown is obviously the aim. Once you are there anything is possible – we have seen that before in previous years.

“We have a great package with the bike and the team so I see no reason why we can’t be challenging for podiums from the start and we have as much of a shot as everyone else.”