Honda Racing has unveiled a new-look line-up for the 2019 international road races, with Australian rider David Johnson teaming up with Ian Hutchinson for the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Both riders will compete in the Superbike and Superstock classes on CBR1000RR Fireblade machinery, with the team also preparing a CBR600RRR Supersport machine for Yorkshireman Hutchinson.
The 16-time TT winner was hampered by injury throughout 2018, but Hutchinson - who is entering his second season with the team - says he is full of confidence for the year ahead.
“I’m feeling confident coming into this season on the roads. Last year was about building back up and learning the Fireblade again,” he said.
“The results were a little disappointing, as they didn’t reflect the hard work that went in behind the scenes. But since the TT I have been out on a track Fireblade and also my road bike, so with that mileage and the testing programme we have for this year, I think we’ll be in a strong position when we arrive at the North West 200.
“I’m keen to get started and looking forward to the team’s first test.”
Aussie Johnson said he was thrilled to be joining a team with such a proven track record at the international meetings.
He takes over the ride from Fermanagh's Lee Johnston, who has been linked with a return to BMW machinery this year.
“I am really happy to join the Honda Racing team for this season. Over the years they have been incredibly successful on the roads and won a lot at the TT; I feel that I will gel with the Fireblade, so I’m very excited to get started and ride the bikes.
“With Hutchy getting fitter from his injuries I think we’ll work together well and I will have some great people around me in the team. I can’t wait to get back to the UK and start testing.”
The Honda Racing team will embark on a comprehensive testing programme before the North West 200 in May.