Ulster GP: Lee Johnston eyes big finish to major international season

Lee Johnston is confident of rounding off the major international road racing season on a high at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix next month.

Friday, 20th July 2018, 3:24 pm
Updated Friday, 20th July 2018, 3:33 pm
Fermanagh man Lee Johnston.

The Honda Racing rider did not achieve the results he had hoped for at the Isle of Man TT after kicking off the season with three podiums at the North West 200, but Johnston has a strong record at Dundrod, where he claimed the man of the meeting title in 2015 with a treble.

Johnston, who joined Ian Hutchinson in the official Honda set-up for 2018, said: “It’s no secret that we struggled at the TT. We had a few mechanical problems and although the results weren’t disastrous, it wasn’t where we wanted to be.

“We definitely enjoyed a good North West and I am keen to bring us back to that form at Dundrod.

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Honda Racing's Lee Johnston in action at Union Mills at the Isle of Man TT.

“The point of racing is to win so my mindset when I approach a race like the Ulster is always about a first on that podium.”

Johnston rates the 7.4-mile Dundrod course as his favourite and although he isn’t ruling out a victory challenge in the Superbike class, he feels his best chance may come in the Supersport races on the Padgett’s Honda.

“I’ve had big results in Dundrod in the past and it is without doubt my favourite circuit. I love the flowing nature and natural form of the track and when you find a good rhythm on it, it makes for really enjoyable racing,” said Johnston, who made his Ulster GP debut in 2012.

“I think the Supersport class may provide us with our best chance at a win. Obviously it’s Padgett’s so it a proven package with Bruce Anstey clocking up a lot of race wins on it.

“The Superstock bike just isn’t fast enough for this circuit but if we get everything right on the day with the Superbike we will be in definite contention for a win.”

Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, added: “I know Lee is keen to redeem himself after a lacklustre TT and I am looking forward to seeing him in action over both race days.”

Bike Week runs from August 5-11. Tickets are available now via www.ulstergrandprix.net.