The factory-backed GBMoto Kawasaki squad is set to make its road racing debut with Gary Johnson at the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 in May. The BSB squad has signed the double Supersport TT winner to race their ZX10s in both Superbike and Superstock spec as it begins a new between-the-hedges campaign this season.
Johnson enjoys fond memories of the seaside venue and is looking forward to the new challenge.
"I first competed at the North West 200 in Superstock in 2007 and was happy to be the fastest-ever newcomer," the Lincolnshire racer said.
"It's the perfect kick-off to the roads season. Testing in Spain is great but you need to get your head round the idea of sustained speeds into the 200mph zone."
GBMoto team principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen is also relishing making the shift from short circuits to the roads.
"We are really excited about this year and adding the roads to our racing schedule means new places, new people and new opportunities," he says.
"We have a good schedule of testing lined up with Gary on both bikes and then we are onto the North West 200, which has such a great history in road racing terms. We know that the event is fantastically well run and the racing looks so exciting from the TV."
Johnson was a podium finisher on a ZX10 in the 2013 Superstock race at Portrush and he is familiar with the Kawasakis having raced them over the last couple of seasons.
"You need a fast bike that's stable in braking and the Kawasaki's renowned as fast as stock," the 31-year-old explained.
"It's a fantastic package and you can see its success in both Superstock and Superbike trim. To make it even better I have massive faith in the GBMoto squad."
It is a major boost to the North West 200 to have yet another factory-supported squad competing on the famous 8.9 mile triangle circuit.
"It is 40 years since Mick Grant set a new lap record on a Kawasaki at the North West to make it the fastest circuit in the UK at that time," event director Mervyn Whyte said.