Yukio Kagayama is joining the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team for three of the four remaining World Endurance Championship rounds this year.
The former MotoGP, World Superbike and British Championship Suzuki racer and development rider will team-up with the reigning 11-times World Champions SERT at the Losail 8-Hour second round of the Championship on June 10th in Qatar, plus the Suzuka 8-hour in Japan and German Oschersleben fourth round in July and August respectively.
The popular long-time Suzuki rider, who has been racing in the All Japan Superbike Championship under his own team banner "Kagayama Racing" since 2011 after eight years living in Europe, will team-up with Frenchmen Vincent Philippe and Anthony Delhalle aboard the team's Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 as SERT bids for its 12th WEC title.
Said Kagayama: "I'm delighted that I can now officially announce that I will participate in three EWC races this year with SERT, which is a very historic and professional team that has won so many World Endurance Championships.
"We have been trying to make the deal since the Winter, but due to my schedule - which didn't allow me to race two of the 24-hour races this year - it took a bit more time for both of us to reach and agreement. But I'm very happy to reach an agreement now.
"I formed my own "Team Kagayama" Suzuki team last year in Japan in the Superbike class of the All Japan Championship and I switched tyres from Bridgestone to Dunlop for a new development challenge. We have been working very closely with Dunlop engineers and the opportunity came for me to do the EWC races with SERT because the team is also using Dunlop tyres, so hopefully this will be beneficial to everyone.
"I'm really looking forward putting in a good performance for Dunlop and SERT, especially at the Suzuka 8 hours - which is one of the most important races of the year in my home country - but I will do my best, firstly at Doha in two weeks with my team mates Vincent and Anthony. I really hope that SERT wins the EWC title again in 2012 and I will be doing my best to help."
SERT Team Manager Dominique Meliand added: "I'm extremely delighted to welcome Yukio to SERT. I've know him for many years and he will fit perfectly into our team with Vincent and Anthony. He has such a good reputation and his experience is incomparable. Remember, he is the one who won the Suzuka 8-hours in 2007 onboard the Yoshimura Suzuki and also set Pole in 2011. I can't wait to see the Yukio, Anthony and Vincent riding together."