Ulster GP: Ian Hutchinson ruled out of Dundrod showpiece
Honda Racing's Ian Hutchinson will miss next month's MCE Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.
The Yorkshire rider will instead focus on his fitness for 2019 after struggling at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT following his eleventh hour comeback from a long injury lay-off.
Hutchinson, who broke his left leg in a crash in the 2017 Senior TT and had to have his ankle removed as a result of the incident, won four races at Dundrod on his last visit in 2016.
Riding for Northern Ireland’s Tyco BMW team, he did the double in the Superbike class and also won the Superstock race on the S1000RR. Hutchinson was also victorious in the second Supersport race after finishing as the runner-up to Bruce Anstey in the opener.
Flying Kiwi Anstey – last year’s feature Superbike race winner on the Padgett’s Racing Honda RC213V-S – is also ruled out through illness.
Ulster GP Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston said: “Unfortunately Ian Hutchinson has decided to sit this year out and concentrate on getting back to full fitness for next season.
“Being honest I’m happy with his decision and I feel it’s the right one for him.”
Hutchinson’s team-mate, Lee Johnston, is among the entries for Dundrod along with Senior TT winner Peter Hickman, Ulster GP lap record holder Dean Harrison, 18-time TT winner Michael Dunlop and Manx ace Conor Cummins, who will lead the charge for the Padgett’s team in Anstey’s absence.
Practice for the international road race gets underway on Wednesday, August 8.
Final qualifying and the first UGP races will be held on Thursday, August 9 ahead of the main race bill on Saturday, August 11.