North West 200 star Michael Rutter will ride the MotoGP-derived Honda RC213V-S in the Superbike class at the international road race.
The 14-time winner will mark the 90th anniversary of the famous event by running the No.90 plate on his exotic Bathams Racing/Aspire-Ho Honda as he stakes his claim for an incredible 10th victory in the blue riband class.
Rutter made his road racing debut on the £250,000 Grand Prix racer at the Macau Grand Prix last November, sealing a close runner-up finish behind Peter Hickman.
The 47-year-old, who made his debut at the North West back in 1992, is the third most successful rider ever at the North West behind Ulstermen Alastair Seeley (24 wins) and the late Robert Dunlop (15 wins).
Rutter joked: “It feels like I have been coming to the North West for 90 years!
“It is a great honour to be running the number 90 plate and brilliant for the event that we will be racing the RCV.”
His appearance on the RCV is another feather in the cap of the North West 200 organisers, with Event Director Mervyn Whyte also bringing Norton and John McGuinness back to the North coast, while Carrick man Seeley will give the new PBM Be Wiser Ducati Panigale V4-R is roads debut this week.
Glenn Irwin, Dean Harrison and James Hillier are amongst the top riders who will race the latest-spec Kawasaki ZX-10RR machines, while Michael Dunlop and Peter Hickman will debut the new 2019 BMW S1000RR for their respective Tyco and Smiths Racing squads.
However, Rutter has no doubt the Honda RC213V-S is by far the best racing motorcycle he has ever sat on.
“The RCV is the best bike that I have ever ridden,” he said.
“It is completely unlike anything else I’ve ever raced and I think it will have a real chance against all those other great bikes at the North West.
“Plus it will be great for the fans to see it in action because it has a unique look and sound.”
Rutter, who clocked up some laps on the Honda at the recent Oulton Park British Superbike test, will also race a Bathams/Aspire-Ho BMW S1000RR in both Superstock events and a Ryan Farquhar-built KMR Kawasaki ER6 in the Supertwin races.
“There is no doubt that the North West is more competitive than ever and this promises to be a very interesting year,” he said.
“I would love to get another win to add to my North West tally and winning the feature race on the RCV would be a dream come true, but we will have to wait and see what happens.”