British Superbike veteran Karl Harris has switched to Ducati power for this year’s North West 200 and will stand in for Lee Johnston on the Moto Rapido Sport 1199 Panigale in the Superstock and Superbike races next weekend.
Harris’ PR Kawasaki squad weren’t able to field a bike for him at this year’s first roads international but he will now use Lee Johnston’s bike as the Ulsterman is still injured. He tested the bike yesterday at Kirkistown.
‘I have never ridden a Ducati before but the Panigale seemed very strong for a Superstock machine," said Harris, who will race the bike in four outings - the Superstock event on Thursday evening and again in Saturday’s Superstock race as well as both Superbike events on race day.
Johnston, meanwhile, may take to the grid in the Supersport and Supertwin races after also testing at Kirkistown as they will cause much less stress to his injured leg.
"Lee has no pins or anything in the leg and he has been receiving laser treatment as well as visiting a hyperbaric chamber to speed up the healing process," said team boss Patrick Murray.
"He was very comfortable - and fast- on both bikes at Kirkistown and if he passes a medical on Monday he will be fit to practice on Tuesday."