10 December 2014
Gary Johnson joins new GBmoto Kawasaki roads team
"This is a fantastic opportunity to be working with such a great team and so closely with a major manufacturer" - Gary Johnson.
BSB front runners GBmoto have announced a new factory Kawasaki-backed roads campaign, with Isle of Man TT winner Gary Johnson.
Enjoying 'significant' Kawasaki support, the team are building ZX-10R race bikes in Superbike and Superstock specification to attack the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix events.
GBmoto will also undertake a full testing programme supported by Japanese technical personnel.
“This is another big step forward for GBmoto and I'm incredibly proud that Kawasaki have chosen us to be a major part of their Road Racing campaign,” said team principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen. “The North West, Isle of Man TT and Ulster GP are three huge events in the world of motorcycling and ones I have followed closely, so I'm really excited to be heading there as a team next year.
“Gary was a natural option for the team. He has ridden for us before and we have enjoyed a good relationship that has grown ever since. He's proven that he is capable of beating the best on the roads and I believe if it wasn't for his injury this year then he would have added even further wins to his tally, so I'm confident with the level of support we will have that he can battle for victories in what is now a super competitive field.”
Having previously ridden for GBmoto outfit in the final two rounds of the National Superstock 1000 Championship in 2011, Johnson has gone on to establish himself as one of the strongest road racers in the world.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to be working with such a great team and so closely with a major manufacturer, I'm really happy,” he said. “I rode for GBmoto in 2011, they were one of the most professional teams I've ever worked with and they've obviously stepped up again since then.
“To see what they did this year in BSB by changing manufacturers and immediately getting podiums was incredible. Their infrastructure, bikes and kit is all mega and although this is their first time at the TT I know they will put all the right pieces in the right places, to be successful. Hopefully I can bring my own experience to the team from both the events side and with a good reference point from riding a Kawasaki.
“I have to thank the guys who have worked so hard to help me in the last few years, it's because of them that I've been put in the shop window for this opportunity. With the support of GBmoto and Kawasaki and their testing schedule I'm the most confident I've ever been going into the TT and the other events, so bring it on!”
After winning the 2005 British Supersport Cup Championship, Johnson made his debut 'between the hedges' in 2007 - taking his first Roads podium just two years later and becoming a TT winner in 2011.
2014 saw two podiums at the North West 200 and a second TT victory in the Supersport class, before a horrific crash in the Superstock race saw him break a collarbone, shoulder and several vertebrae. Johnson returned to take fourth place in the season-ending Macau Grand Prix.
Johnson will get his first ride on the Kawasaki supported ZX-10R's when he joins the team's BSB riders James Ellison and James Westmoreland at their pre-season tests, which begin at Cartagena on the 5th March.
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