David Johnson comes into this year’s Isle of Man TT Races as a factory Honda rider for the first time and although the official team haven’t had the best of fortunes on the island recently, the Australian ace is confident that won’t be the case in 2019 and is eager to grab the opportunity with both hands.
With three fourth place finishes to his name, one in 2014 and two last year, the now 35-year old is desperate to get his first podium and, if possible, his first win and has no doubts the Fireblade will give him the tools he needs.
“Honda and I spoke briefly at the beginning of last year and kept in touch and the time was right this time around to get a deal done,” Johnson told bikesportnews.com at the launch.
“Last year went well on the BMW but it was also hard work so the opportunity to ride for Honda was hard to turn down.
I still can’t quite believe it’s happened to be honest and doesn’t feel real yet – I feel like I’ve walked down to Clintons and kitted myself out in Honda merchandise!
“I had a good battle with Conor Cummins in one of last year’s races and the bike seemed to do everything well – he got two podiums so the Honda’s clearly a bike that works at the TT and the knowledge the Padgetts guys have has been transferred to our team so with Hutchy doing a lot of testing work over winter as well, the bike should be really good at this year’s TT.
“I’m getting a bit fed up with getting close to the podium and just need that little bit of luck you need at the TT for it to happen. Last year’s Senior race is a good example as I stuck with Hicky when he came by only to hit bike trouble.
“He did 134mph on that particular lap and whilst mine wouldn’t have been as quick it would certainly have been up in the high 132s which would have put me neck and neck with Conor. That race was probably my best opportunity of getting onto the box.
“It’s hard to say where I can improve but I know I can and if I’m comfortable with the bike, I’ll push as hard as anyone. Conor’s bike looked like it handled well and was very stable so if I can get mine to do the same, I’m confident I’ll have as good a chance as anyone of getting in the top three.
“It’s a golden opportunity for me so I’m determined to prove to everyone I’m worthy of the ride. Winning means everything to a rider but a podium at the TT would be a dream come true.”
Johnson starts his testing schedule at Donington Park tomorrow with a two day test at Castle Combe next week.