MOTORCYCLING: Hutchy and Johnston to make Honda debut at NW200

Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston will race for Honda Racing UK on the roads in 2018.
Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston will race for Honda Racing UK on the roads in 2018.

After weeks of speculation Honda Racing UK have confirmed Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston will race for the team on the roads in 2018.

The pair are set to make their international debuts on the CBR1000RR SP2 Fireblades at the Vauxhall International North West 200 next May 15-19 as they replace the injured John McGuinness and Guy Martin in the team.

Hutchinson is still battling the leg injury he suffered during the 2017 Senior TT race but is hoping to be fit for the start of the 2018 season.

“It’s a new challenge and a fresh start.” the 38 year old said as he joins Honda after two successful seasons with the Tyco BMW squad.

The ‘Bingley Bullet’ is no stranger to Honda machinery having raced for the official team in 2007. He also won two North West races on the Padgett’s Hondas he rode to a TT five timer in 2010.

Fermanagh racer Lee Johnston has also suffered injury over the past two seasons but is now looking forward to getting back on a Honda after several seasons on BMW machinery.

“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.” the Maguiresbridge man said.

Johnston tested the new Fireblade alongside Martin and McGuinness last season before his break with the Jackson Racing Honda team. He also rode the new superbike at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race.

“The tank fits me well and it isn’t as big as it looks.” the diminutive star smiled as today’s announcement was made.

Both Hutchy and Johnson have won three North West 200 races and they will be aiming to add to their tallies next May.