Triple British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari could be make a shock switch to MotoGP in 2013 to spearhead development of Honda’s new RC213V 1000cc production racer.
HRC plans to sell production versions of its factory RC213V prototype machine in 2014 at a price of around £800,000 in a bid to offer an affordable and competitive alternative to the current CRT machines.
It emerged in Phillip Island that Japanese rider Kiyonari is being lined up to join Fausto Gresini’s squad as replacement for Italian Michele Pirro, who has been signed by Ducati as its GP13 test rider.
Honda might take the opportunity now to draft in Kiyonari, who could test and develop the new production RC213V in the cut and thrust of competition from the middle of next season onwards.
HRC boss Livio Suppo told MCN: “It is an option. At the moment the final decision hasn’t been taken on whether we go ahead with the production RC213V project. If it did then it is perhaps better to have a Japanese rider developing something like this for the communication with the engineers. Kiyonari is definitely an option.”