Three-time British Superbikes champion Ryuichi Kiyonari has left his Market Rasen home and returned to Japan.
Kiyonari has announced he will return to Honda and the All Japan Road Race Championship in 2017 with Moriwaki Racing, calling time on his illustrious Superbikes career.
He lined up in 237 races, winning 50 and celebrating a further 44 podium finishes on his way to claiming three titles, putting him second in terms of all-time championship victories.
The Japanese rider will again feature at the prestigious Suzuka Eight Hours Endurance Race, an event he has won four times already.
“I am really excited to be back in the Japanese Championship and back with Honda,” he said. “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 a 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.”
He added: “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.”
MCE British Superbike Championship series director Stuart Higgs said: “Kiyonari’s not unexpected return to full-time racing in Japan brings down the curtain, for now, 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 when he took the title race down to the wire.
“Of course it’s been perplexing to see such changes in form in recent seasons and it was great to see him running at the front in what was his final MCE BSB race at Brands Hatch on the Smiths BMW.”