TT 2018: Johnson replaces Hutchinson on KMR Lightweight
David Johnson secured a late deal at the Isle of Man TT Races on Saturday to contest the Lightweight class on the RST/KMR Kawasaki originally earmarked for Ian Hutchinson.
The Australian was due to ride in just the Superbike, Senior and Superstock races for Gulf BMW but a conversation with KMR Kawasaki team owner Ryan Farquhar on Saturday morning saw the deal concluded in time for the evening’s opening practice session.
“I was walking by Ryan’s awning on Saturday when he called me over and after a quick chat, he asked me to ride the bike,” explained Johnson. “With RST having had a lot of input into the bike, Ryan needed an RST-backed rider on the bike so I rang Shaun (Muir – owner of the Gulf BMW team) and he said go ahead.”
“I wasn’t prepared to be going out for the practice and with the weather being so good, some rider got in six laps on Saturday evening so I really needed to be out on another bike. I didn’t want to get left behind so I’m really grateful to Ryan for the opportunity.”
Johnson’s previous outings on a Lightweight machine were between 2013 and 2015, taking a best finish of 12th in 2014 where he lapped at 113.344mph. However, he immediately bettered that on Saturday evening with his opening lap being 115.253mph before upping the pace second time around to 117.029mph.
“The first time I rode the bike was on the opening lap and it felt really good from the word go,” said the Adelaide rider. “Lapping at 117mph second time around was way quicker than I’ve ever gone before on a Twin and there’s plenty more to come.”
“It was a really shame the Hutchy fell through,” added Farquhar, “but I’m delighted to have Davo on board. I saw how well he was riding at the Phillip Island Classic and he’s pretty handy at the TT so with him being an RST-supported rider, it all made sense. He’s a bit similar to Peter Hickman in his build not being ideally suited to a Twin but to do 117mph on his first night shows how much potential there is and, like he says, there’s plenty more to come.”