Ten Kate Honda Racing’s Ryuichi Kiyonari has reluctantly been forced to withdraw from the final round of the 2009 World Superbike championship at Portimao in Portugal.The Japanese ace broke his right collarbone in race one at the previous round in Magny-Cours, France and returned home for an operation. It was the same collarbone that Kiyonari broke at the French circuit during a test last season.Despite a clamp keeping the bone stable, Kiyonari was in considerable pain during yesterday’s opening free practice and qualifying sessions, when he set a time of 1’45.676s at the 4.59km Portimao circuit.
After further consultation with medical staff at the track, Kiyonari and his Ten Kate Honda Racing team decided that, for safety reasons, his continued participation in the final WSBK round was not possible.Ryuichi Kiyonari Speaks…You can imagine that I am very disappointed to miss out on this final race of the season. I am especially sorry for my team, who have worked so hard this season. I would also like to apologise to Honda and the sponsors of the team. I wanted to race but, after I spoke with doctors and the team, we decided that it was not possible. It’s a shame to end the season this way but now I want to get my shoulder fixed so that I am fit again for next year.Ronald ten Kate Speaks… (Team Manager)We all feel desperately sorry for Kiyonari-san who cannot be faulted for his commitment and desire to compete. This time, however, it was not possible because of pain from his shoulder and a general weakness in his right arm. Of course, it’s not the way that any of us would want to see his season finish, but the important thing is his shoulder is allowed time to heal properly, in its own time. The whole team sends its best wishes to Kiyo for a speedy recovery and return to fitness.