Resurgent Johnson one to watch

EAST Coast Racing’s Gary Johnson has been in resurgent form during practice week at the Relentless International North West 200.

Johnson, who failed to reproduce his best for Alistair Flanagan’s AIM Suzuki team on the roads last year, appears to be back to his best if his performances during qualifying for the opening international road race of the season are anything to go by.

He secured some of his best road racing results on Honda machinery when he rode for Uel Duncan’s team in recent years and it appears as though his move to the East Coast British Supersport team has given him renewed confidence.

“The Honda is an easy bike to ride and the FireBlade is more like riding a road bike than it is a race bike,” said Johnson, who qualified second in the Supersport class and fourth and sixth respectively in the Superstock and Superbike events.

“I enjoyed my time on the Suzuki last year, but it just didn’t work out as good as it should have done.

“This is our first international race with the East Coast team and I’ve got to look towards the TT,” he added.

“It’s a good chance to see how the bikes are performing and make sure they are stable, because that’s so important at the TT.

“I’m able to hold the bikes flat-out on the straight to University and last year I couldn’t do that.

“Last year was a nightmare year for me in terms of results but I knew when we got here that the bikes were good in the first practice and although there’s still a lot of work to do, it’s a good starting point.

“Alastair (Seeley) is going to pick the pace up and so are the other guys but I’m happy I can do the times.

“I think we’ll be in the mix on the Supersport bike especially because I managed my fastest lap on it when I made a mistake in practice at Metropole.”