Crescent, the organisation behind the official Suzuki British Superbike team, has confirmed that 2008 Superbike racer Atsushi Watanabe will not be retained for the 2009 season.
Watanabe joined the Crescent-operated Rizla Suzuki squad for the 2008 BSB season and has enjoyed a fruitful season learning the British circuits under the guidance of one of the best teams. He has enjoyed varying degrees of success with a best result of 7th in the second race at Cadwell Park in August. On top of this, he finished runner-up in the prestigious Suzuka 8-hour event in Japan.
He will move to the Relentless by TAS Suzuki squad for 2009, spearheading its challenge in the British Superbike Championship.
He said: "I am very grateful to Crescent for bringing me to the British Superbike series. I have learnt much this year that I hope I will be able to use this to get good results next season. I am very happy to be staying with Suzuki and in BSB in 2009."
Crescent Team Manager Jack Valentine said: "Atsu is one of the nicest people I have ever met but unfortunately he will not be racing for our team in 2009. I am pleased to say that he will remain within the Suzuki family however and in British Superbikes. The whole team thanks him for his efforts and wishes him the very best for the future."
Watanabe will race alongside Tom Sykes in the Rizla Suzuki team at the final round of the 2008 British Superbike season at Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent this weekend.