Belfast Telegraph

Johnson is all revved up for Dundrod

 

Jetting in: Davy Johnson cannot wait to get from Adelaide to the Dundrod circuit for the Ulster GP
Jetting in: Davy Johnson cannot wait to get from Adelaide to the Dundrod circuit for the Ulster GP

By Roy Harris

With a week to go until action bursts into life around the Dundrod Circuit for the 2019 fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix, David Johnson will be jetting in from Adelaide for his first outing on the Honda Racing machines since the Isle of Man TT.

The 36-year-old Australian said: "I am looking forward to the Ulster because this year I will be riding bikes I am familiar with and I'm hoping we will have a test day at Kirkistown before practice begins.

"When I rode for Tyco BMW last season, I didn't even sit on the bike before I got to Dundrod."

Johnson was a last-minute replacement in Hector and Philip Neill's Moneymore-based Tyco squad last August after Michael Dunlop opted out of the meeting following the tragic death of his brother William at Skerries.

Taking full advantage of his opportunity, Johnson gave the carbon fibre framed HP4 BMW Superbike its first international race rostrum by finishing third in the curtailed Saturday Superbike race.

Since joining Honda for 2019, Johnson scored his first TT podium by finishing third in the Superstock TT. He said: "I had an awesome TT. We made big improvements with the bikes and that podium was better than any race I've ever been in. My Superstock was working perfectly and I had gelled well with the team."

After years of Honda success on the roads, the latest Fireblade has proved to be a difficult ride - just ask John McGuinness, Guy Martin or Johnson's current team-mate Ian Hutchinson, who will miss the UGP to have further surgery on his injured leg.

However, a determined Johnson explained: "You have to knuckle down and make things work. I get a set-up and don't make any changes until I have to and then make them work.

"At the TT, my bike was so different to what anyone had ridden in the past few years. We went against the Honda grain and my bike was chalk and cheese compared to Hutchy's, especially on the suspension settings.

"What worked for me didn't work for other people and we will have new linkage and swing arm for the Ulster."

Johnson has been inspired by the success of Conor Cummins in the past two seasons on the similar Padgetts Honda Fireblade.

He said: "The badge on the tank is the same as the one on our bikes and Conor has been riding unbelievably well and making it work."

Riding a Wilson Craig Honda in 2016, Johnson had a nasty practice crash at Quarterlands and broke his back, but a year later he bounced back to take fourth position in the Superstock race on the 4Anjels BMW.

Now he feels good weather and dry roads could give him an opportunity to run at the front.

He insisted: "The older I get, the faster I am going. The two guys at the front at the minute, Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison, plus Conor, set the benchmark pretty high, but I think I can push to be up there at the front with them. A podium is within reach at Dundrod and a win would be another step. That's what we have been working towards with the bike."

√ The MCUI Motocross Commission team for the Motocross of Nations 2019 event at Assen in Holland in September includes the experienced Martin Barr and Stuart Edmonds, while Jason Meara is the new boy flying the flag under the management of Philip McCullough.

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