TT 2018: Fourth for David Johnson despite ‘wrong’ rear tyre
David Johnson equalled his best ever TT result in Saturday’s RST Superbike race, matching the fourth place he achieved in the 2014 Superstock race.
Starting at number nine, the Gulf BMW rider set an opening lap of 130.275mph to slot into fifth place, a position he held until lap four when long time race leader Dean Harrison retired, promoting him up the order to fourth.
Two more 130mph+ laps saw the Australian consolidate the position and although his sixth and final lap was his quickest of the race, 130.737mph, third placed James Hillier had a healthy margin to hold onto the final podium spot. Nevertheless, it was the 35-year old’s best ever finish in a Superbike race around the Mountain Course.
“We improved the bike a lot during practice and again before the race although I probably used the wrong compound rear tyre for the race,” Johnson told bikesportnews.com afterwards. “Conditions were a lot cooler today than they had been all week hence making a change but track temperature had increased by the time we got underway.
“The bike felt good all race though, which will help us for the Superstock race as well, and I tried to keep the pressure on James throughout. I was quicker than him on the last lap but he had quite a gap over me and I was probably relying on him making a mistake to get near him.
“Hicky caught me at Ramsey hairpin on the first lap and I thought I’d tuck in behind him and get a good tow over the Mountain and hopefully learn a bit too but as soon as we got to the Gooseneck, it was clear he had an issue so that was a bit of a bugger for me.
“I caught a lot of traffic on the last lap, which was unusual as I never caught that much when I started at number one, and, unfortunately, I caught them all at the wrong places going through the fast fifth gear stuff which meant I had to roll off the throttle a bit before picking my way past. If it hadn’t been for that, I’m sure it would have been a mid-131mph lap.
“The boys did a great job at the pit stops and I’m happy with fourth as it’s my best ever result in a Superbike race but I want a podium – it’s continuing to elude me at the moment.”