Northern Ireland's Lee Johnston will ride for Honda Motor Europe for the 2018 Road Racing season it has been announced.
Originally from Fermanagh, now based in Hull, Johnston along with 16-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson will form Honda Racings road line up.
The 28-year-old will contest aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 in the Superbike and the Superstock 1000 classes at next years North West 200, Isle of Man TT and the Ulster GP race meetings.
A non stranger to Honda machinery, this is a huge step for Johnston and shows the undoubted ability he possesses as a high-quality road racer.
The former National Superstock 600 Champion made his debut at the North West 200 in 2008 and it was 2012 when he first rode the famous TT Mountain Circuit. ‘The General’ has impressed during his time on the roads collecting three wins and six podiums at the NW200, as well as two podiums at the Isle of Man TT and will be looking to further add to his tally.
Johnston also has strong links with the Louth-based squad, having worked closely with the Honda Endurance Racing team as its Le Mans 24-hour reserve rider.
Lee stated: "I am genuinely excited about being with Honda Racing next year, I’m probably the most excited I’ve been in years if I’m honest!
"I have had two tough years and it’s nice to have everything organised and in place early so I have nothing to worry about apart from riding motorbikes. So that for me is the biggest thing and what I wanted more than anything, as I have no outside distractions and I can just concentrate on doing my job.
"I’ve ridden the Fireblade SP2 already at Le Mans, when I was a reserve rider for the Honda Endurance Racing team, so I’ve got a bit of a head start in that respect."
The Maguiresbridge man added: "I enjoy riding the CBR, the tank fits me well and it isn’t as big as it looks! I just can’t wait now for testing to start in March and just get going with the new programme for the year."