Lee Johnston has had his first test on the new Jackson Racing Honda superbike he hopes will carry him to glory at the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200. The three times NW200 race winner tested the Ten Kate built Fireblade and his CBR600RR Supersport machine at the official Honda test in Monteblanco last week.
“The new bike felt good and on paper it should be competitive.” the straight talking Fermanagh man said after the Spanish test. “We just need to see how it goes on tarmac now!”
Johnston will have his first international outing on the 2016 spec Fireblade at Portrush and will be hoping for better luck than he enjoyed last season when an early season crash at Scarborough Spring Cup left him injured and out of sorts.
“Last year was tough.” the 28 year admitted.
“I now know what a bad year feels like and I don’t want to feel it again!”
With a Superstock and two Supertwin race victories under his belt on the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit, Johnston is one of the men tipped for success in 2017. He has switched from the BMW S1000RR power he used over the last two seasons to Hondas that he last raced in 2014. They are bikes he knows well.
“I gelled straight away with the 600 in Spain.” Johnston smiled.
“After two years of being on the BMW using a fly by wire throttle the Honda feels different but as a whole package I’m confident in what the bike is fit to do. It’s already been proven hasn’t it?”
The change of machinery appears to have brought a new confidence for the diminutive star going into May’s North West 200.
“There is no reason why I can’t win this year.” Johnston said.
“I have led every race around there. Last year I was the problem and I have worked hard all winter to sort things out so we will just have to wait and see now how it goes.”
Stephen Davison – PR Officer