Samsung Honda heads to Brands Hatch, Kent, this weekend (5-7 April) for the opening round of the British Superbike Championship. Ryuichi Kiyonari makes a welcome return to Honda and BSB, while his new team-mate Alex Lowes will debut for the team in the Superbike class. The opening event also kicks off the team’s campaign in the British Supersport Championship with Jason O’Halloran aboard the new CBR600RR.
Following a year away from the UK that saw him win the 2012 Asia Road Racing Championship, three-time British Superbike Champion Kiyonari returns with his sights set firmly on an unprecedented fourth crown. The Japanese ace is joined by BSB race winner Alex Lowes, who had an impressive campaign onboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade last season.
O’Halloran meanwhile joins to the British Supersport Championship after competing with the team in the Superstock 1000 class and is relishing the return to the 600cc grid. The Australian has previously been a title winner in the Australian Supersport class and is ready to showcase the new Honda model in a bid for the British title.
Havier Beltran, Team Manager
The Samsung Honda team is looking forward to the opening round of the season at Brands Hatch. Pre-season testing wasn’t as fruitful as we would have liked because of the weather conditions, so we still have some work at the opening rounds, but this is no doubt the case for everyone. We’ve an exciting season ahead with a new line-up in the Superbike class with Kiyo and Alex and also returning to Supersport with Jason.
I am looking forward to the first races of the season but I am also a bit nervous; I always get nervous before the start of a season! It’s exciting for me to be back in the championship with Samsung Honda – testing has been good, but now all I want to do is race. I’ve come back to get good results again for myself, the team and the British fans. I want to show that I’m not finished, that I can be faster and can win again. There are many good riders in the championship like Shakey, Alex (Lowes) and Josh (Brookes) so it won’t be easy, but I’ll be trying very, very hard to win again.
I feel like I’m really prepared for the start of the season; even after our first test I felt I was riding like I did at the end of last year. I’m feeling good and I’m not worried that the weather wasn’t the best at the tests because I’m happy with myself and the team and when I’m in that situation that’s when I tend to be quick. We’ve had testing but racing is completely different and I can’t wait to get started as I think from the start everyone is going to be really close.
This weekend is my first race back in Supersport after a few years and I’m looking forward to the season. We have had some testing that has given me the chance to make the transition back from 1000cc to the 600cc and also the new model for this season which has some big improvements. I’ve a new crew chief in Paul (Williamson) and we have been working well alongside some of my old crew so it has been a positive start. It has been a long winter and there is a lot of hype around Supersport so I can’t wait to get started. I believe in myself and the Samsung Honda team to be serious contenders.
Take a look at the video ‘Introducing Samsung Honda’ as the riders and Team Manager outline their goals for the season ahead.