Hutchinson and Johnson head up Honda's bid for roads glory
Honda Racing will contest the 90th Anniversary North West 200 and Isle of Man TT with Ian Hutchinson and Australian David Johnson spearheading the team's international roads challenge in 2019.
Both will contest the Superbike and Superstock classes riding the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, while a CBR600RR Supersport machine will be prepared for Hutchy, in his second year with Honda Racing.
The Bingley Bullet made a plucky return to racing last year while still recovering from his second very serious leg injury and comes into 2019 with more bike time under his belt as he seeks to return to winning form.
"Last year was about building back up and learning the Fireblade again and although the results were a little disappointing, they didn't reflect the amount of hard work that went on behind the scenes," he said.
"Now I'm feeling confident again and when we arrive at the North West 200, we should be in a strong position."
Johnson, from Adelaide, is a new recruit to Honda and the 2010 fastest newcomer at the TT has been racking up impressive results on the roads since then, his best result coming at the Ulster Grand Prix last year with third position in Superbike riding the new Tyco BMW HP4.
The 34-year old, who has a 131.595mph TT fastest lap to his credit, will be a strong contender for podiums at the North West and TT on the Fireblade Honda.
"I'm really happy to join the Honda Racing Team. Over the years they have been incredibly successful on the roads and won a lot at the TT," he said.
"I feel that I will gel with the Fireblade and I am excited to get back to the UK to start testing. With Hutchy getting fitter from his injuries I think we will work together well."
Honda's announcement came hot on the heels of news about Michael Dunlop returning with Tyco BMW. The international road race scene is starting to look extremely competitive with the North West 200 just four months away.