Top riders confirm their seats for TT 2019
Monday 28 January 2019
As Honda Racing announce a two-man team for their 2019 Isle of Man TT campaign, the main solo grid is starting to shape.
Ian Hutchinson returns with the "factory" Honda team for 2019, joined by Aussie star David "Davo" Johnson.
The confirmation of Honda's plans sees one of the last pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place in terms of who goes where with the bigger teams.
All of the riders who stood on Superbike race podiums in 2018 have now confirmed their plans: no change for Conor Cummins, James Hillier, Dean Harrison or Peter Hickman who all remain with their 2018 teams (respectively Milenco Security Padgetts Racing, Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki, Silicone Engineering Racing Kawasaki and Smiths Racing BMW) and after a long delay in making an announcement which had fans guessing whether he'd return at all Michael Dunlop has also confirmed he will remain with his 2018 outfit: Tyco BMW.
John McGuinness is another staying with his 2018 team, although in his case it is an (almost) untried partnership. John's return to the TT, riding for an all-British team, was one of the most hotly anticipated events ahead of last year's races but it wasn't to be. At almost the last moment John was forced to shelve plans for racing as hairline fracture was detected on his still recovering injuries following his North West 200 crash the previous year.
As great as the anticipation was in 2018, the delay has only increased the excitement felt by fans waiting to see their hero back on the Isle of Man roads where he carved his legend.
Honda Racing's line-up sees the team hoping to put a couple of underwhelming years of results behind them.
According to Ian Hutchinson, who was still recovering from a spill on the Mountain in 2017, 2018 was 'about building back up and learning the Fireblade again.' Looking ahead to the 2019 season "Hutchy" says he's feeling confident and after a comprehensive build-up of mileage on road and track he's sure the team will be 'in a strong position when we arrive at the North West 200.'
Davo, is understandably excited at the prospect of running with one of the most successful Isle of Man TT teams: 'With Hutchy getting fitter from his injuries I think we’ll work together well and I will have some great people around me in the team. I can’t wait to get back to the UK and start testing!'