Ryuichi Kiyonari may have rode his last race for the Samsung Honda squad if paddock rumour is to be believed, as a motocross injury sustained a few weeks ago means he has been ruled out of the final round of the MCE British Superbike Championship this weekend at Brands Hatch.
The former triple champion has had a woeful year on the official factory team, struggling to finish on the podium at most rounds, and only just making it through to the top six Showdown after a mid-season run of better form boosted his points total.
With the Japanese rider still recovering from damage to his shoulder, his Honda team have announced that he will sit out the last round of the season at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Instead, Frenchman Freddy Foray will ride as title challenger’s Alex Lowes’ teammate, as he did at the Silverstone round two weeks ago, scoring points in 11th and 15th place.
Team principal Havier Beltran told MCN that Kiyo was having a difficult time gaining any relief from his injuries despite working heavily on rehab.
“Kiyo is still in a lot of pain, and doesn't have very good arm movement, especially with picking his arm up above his head or moving it around a lot. He says that it's a stabbing shooting pain in his muscle instead of a crunchy bone pain, which will be hard to ride with.”
Foray added: “I know an injury is always difficult for a rider, so I wish Kiyo all the best. I’m pleased to be back with Samsung Honda in BSB again this weekend and I hope we have a very good finale. I’m looking forward to working with all the team again because now I know the bike better I'm going to enjoy it more and we have three chances in the three races.”
With buzz in the paddock saying that Honda will be looking to recruit two riders next year, to replace Kiyonari as well as MotoGP-bound Lowes, it could be that the triple champion has raced his last race for the squad.