Gary Johnson will ride for GBmoto Racing on the roads next year, it has been announced.
The British Superbike team will field a new high-spec ZX-10R Superbike along with a Superstock machine at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix with backing from Kawasaki.
Johnson has previously ridden with the team – back in 2011 in the National Superstock 1000 Championship – and is an experienced rider on the roads. Making his debut back in 2007, Johnson has podiums at all three of the main international road races, including two Supersport victories at the 2011 & 2014 Isle of Man TTs. An accident at the TT this year ended his season early but he recovered in time for the Macau Grand Prix, finishing in fourth place.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to be working with such a great team, and so closely with a major manufacturer,” Johnson said of the news. “I’m really happy! I rode for GBmoto in 2011 [and] they were one of the most professional teams I’ve ever worked with and they’ve obviously stepped up again since then. To see what they did this year in BSB by changing manufacturers and immediately getting podiums was incredible. Their infrastructure, bikes and kit is all mega and although this is their first time at the TT I know they will put all the right pieces in the right places to be successful.”
Team Principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen also expressed his delight at the deal. “This is another big step forward for GBmoto and I’m incredibly proud that Kawasaki have chosen us to be a major part of their road racing campaign,” he revealed. “The North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix are three huge events in the world of motorcycling and ones I have followed closely, so I’m really excited to be heading there as a team next year.” He also explained that signing Johnson was an easy decision. “He has ridden for use before and we have enjoyed a good relationship that has grown ever since. He’s proven that he is capable of beating the best on the roads and I believe if it wasn’t for his injury this year then he would have added even further wins to his tally. I am confident with the level of support we will have that he can battle for victories in what is now a super competitive field.”
Johnson will undertake a testing programme, which starts in March, and will have his own crew which will be independent of the BSB team. “Hopefully I can bring my own experience to the team from both the events side and with a good reference point from riding a Kawasaki,” Johnson concluded. “I have to thank the guys who have worked so hard to help me in the last few years, it’s because of them that I’ve been put in the shop window for this opportunity. With the support of GBmoto and Kawasaki I’m the most confident I’ve ever been going into the TT and the other events, so bring it on!”