Lee Johnston will compete at this year’s Isle of Man TT on Nicky Hayden’s 2016 World Superbike spec Honda CBR1000RR.
The Irishman has signed a deal with the Jackson Racing team and will ride the Ten Kate prepared Fireblade that carried Hayden to a World Superbike Race win last season, at Malaysia, and fifth overall in the Championship.
The 27-year-old will race in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races. He’ll also campaign Hondas in the RL360º Quantum Superstock and two Monster Energy Supersport Races.
Speaking about the new deal, a confident Johnston said: “I want to be back at the front again, winning races and I think this is the bike that can help me to do that. I had plenty of offers for this year and in the end it was all of the little things coming together that sealed the deal. We are getting help from Honda but with Alan and his team I can run my own choice of kit, bring some of my own people to work on the bikes and keep my own sponsors.
“I hold the lap record on a 600 at the North West and the Ulster and I’ve won lots of races on that bike but I haven’t turned it into anything at the TT yet. I’m hungrier than ever and I just want to win more races than I did in 2016!”
Johnston made his TT debut in 2012 and won the coveted TT Privateer’s Trophy, riding Honda machinery, a year later.
In 2014, once again on a Honda, Johnston took a best finish of fifth in the Superstock Race and a switch to BMW power in 2015 gave him his first TT podium with third in the Superstock Race.
His 2016 season was hampered by injury, due to leg injuries suffered at the Scarborough Spring Cup, but he was still able to pick up a brace of sixth place finishes in the 2016 Supersport TT races and a 10th place finish in the Superbike race.
Team boss, Alan Jackson said: “We’re not fazed by the challenge and we have run top road racers like John McGuinness, James Hillier, Ian Lougher and Chris Palmer on our bikes so we’re eagerly looking forward to Lee’s first test on the new bikes in March.
“With Lee riding our bikes we think we’ve got a strong team with great potential and are keen to talk to potential sponsors and individuals who want to come on board.”
Qualifying for this year’s TT is due to take place from Saturday May 27 to Friday June 2.