Four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty says he is more interested in road racing these days than any other discipline of the sport.
The bike racing legend, who will return to the North West 200 for the first time in almost two decades to complete demo laps on a Ducati, is impressed by the current crop of TT stars aiming to wrestle away John McGuinness' standing as 'King of the Mountain'.
Young guns in the mould of Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins have emerged as serious contenders in recent years, with Ian Hutchinson, Gary Johnson and Guy Martin also snapping at McGuinness' heels.
Fogarty said: “To be honest I probably prefer road racing these days. I've been watching some races on Eurosport like the Southern 100 and Cookstown 100 and there's just a more relaxed atmosphere at road races and it's more grassroots.
“I've been back at the TT in recent years and there's about six or seven guys now who can win it. John McGuinness is still the king of the Mountain but there are other riders challenging him and I don't think that's been the case for some years now.
“I loved racing in Ireland and I always had a good following, right back to the years when I was almost like Joey's team-mate in 1988 when I won the TT Formula One world title,” Fogarty added in an interview with the Belfast News Letter.
“We both helped each other out that year and he was at the celebrations back in my home town in Blackburn and then when I won at Kirkistown in '88 we went back to his pub and stuff, so I've always had a really good reception over there.
“So many people are saying how great it is that I'm going back."
Renowned for his aggressive riding style and ferocious fighting spirit, 'Foggy' built up a massive following during a stellar career that saw the Blackburn star capture four World Superbike crowns (1994, 1995, 1998, 1999), two Formula One world titles (1988 and 1989) and the FIM Formula One World Cup in 1990.
The 46-year-old also won three races at the TT and was involved in one of road racing's most iconic showdowns in the 1992 Senior, losing out by four seconds to Steve Hislop (JPS Norton) but setting a new lap record on the final lap at 123.61mph on his Loctite Yamaha, which incredibly stood for seven years.