Roads: Hutchinson and Johnston confirmed at Honda
Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston will form Honda Racing’s 2018 roads line-up, as reported in MCN last month.
16-time TT winner Hutchinson will make a sensational switch to the squad after parting ways with the Tyco BMW. The Bingley Bullet is currently recovering from the broken leg he sustained when crashing out of the lead of this year’s Senior TT, but has already vowed to be fit for next year’s campaign.
He’ll be joined by two-time Isle of Man TT podium finisher Lee Johnston, who joins the factory effort from the East Coast Racing effort he’s raced for the previous few years.
“I’m really looking forward to getting started with Honda Racing; it’s a new challenge and a fresh start for me,” Hutchinson said on the swap.
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“I suppose I have quite a bit of history with Honda, ten years ago I rode with this official team and in 2009/2010 I rode with Padgetts Honda, where I scored five-TT wins in a week, so I know the Fireblade pretty well. I haven’t ridden the Fireblade SP2 yet and will have to wait until we go testing early next year, but I can’t wait to start making some progress. The Honda team has a lot of experience at the TT and its history speaks for itself with the wins and successes over the years, it’s also nice to see a lot of the team still here who I worked with in the past, so I’m confident that come the New Year we can get started and start aiming to where we want to be.”
Johnston added: “I am genuinely excited about being with Honda Racing next year, I’m probably the most excited I’ve been in years if I’m honest! I have had two tough years and it’s nice to have everything organised and in place early so I have nothing to worry about apart from riding motorbikes. So that for me is the biggest thing and what I wanted more than anything, as I have no outside distractions and I can just concentrate on doing my job. I’ve ridden the Fireblade SP2 already at Le Mans, when I was a reserve rider for the Honda Endurance Racing team, so I’ve got a bit of a head start in that respect. I enjoy riding the CBR, the tank fits me well and it isn’t as big as it looks! I just can’t wait now for testing to start in March and just get going with the new programme for the year.”