Glenn Irwin will give the 2020 Honda Fireblade SP its debut roads outing at the North West 200 in May at a track where he has won four Superbike races in the last three years.
The Carrickfergus native believes the golden triangle is his ‘house’ but says it is an event of its own and not preparation for the Isle of Man, where he will also debut this year.
“The North West is an end in itself, it isn’t preparation for the TT. I love this part of the world, I love the road racing vibe and I understand why there is an expectation on me.
Irwin will have Spanish, Silverstone and Castle Combe test sessions plus the opening two British Superbike rounds to familiarise himself with the new Superbike.
“We will have plenty of testing but will everything be in place by April or May? Probably not because that is just how racing is. But by the time the North West comes around I think we will be starting to find our feet with the bike.”
Irwin is expecting a fight at the North West this year as everyone who turns up is trying hard.
“Anyone who comes to the North West and says they aren’t trying, well I’ve raced with them all and I think they are trying harder than me.
We all know everyone wants to win here. Look at the fight Michael Dunlop put up to me two years ago. He was the only one who came. Peter Hickman didn’t come, Michael Rutter didn’t come. None of the short circuit men came, but the man who was going to the TT with probably more pressure on him than anyone else came.
“I’ve won a last lap race at the North West and I’ve come around on the first lap five seconds ahead of everyone. I’ve made a mistake and recovered and pulled away again. I’ve won in the wet.
“These are all things I didn’t think I would do and I can’t doubt what I can do because I have now won four in a row. I am happy because when you win somewhere that feels like home you can take that tag. I feel like this is my house.”