North West 200 race chief Mervyn Whyte says he has no doubt event favourite Michael Rutter will be on the grid in May.

Rutter suffered a broken leg following a crash during testing with the Honda TT Legends team at Mireval in France on Sunday.

The 40-year-old sustained a crack at the base of his tibia near his ankle, raising concerns he could miss the beginning of the British Superbike Championship plus the first round of the Endurance World Championship and possibly the North West 200.

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However, Rutter intends to return to action at Brands Hatch in April and Whyte is relieved the Honda rider, who is the second most successful rider ever in the history of the North West 200 with 13 victories - two behind Ulster legend Robert Dunlop - will return to the international roads meeting in May.

"The injury is not as bad as what was thought initially. He has a crack at the base of his tibia near his ankle," Whyte told the Belfast News Letter.

"He's going to see a specialist in Ipswich on Wednesday morning and he has also talked to the British Superbike doctor to get his input as well and the feedback from that was good.

"Michael is very optimistic and is hoping to be back out for the opening BSB round in April," added Whyte.

"He's in good form although he said he took a fairly heavy tumble and was lying on the ground for a while.

"He'll be on the grid for the North West no problem."

The remaining Honda TT Legends team members including John McGuinness, Simon Andrews and Michael Dunlop are currently taking part in a Dunlop tyre test at Albacete in Spain after travelling there from France.

Rutter will contest the British Superbike Championship this year for the Bathams Honda team plus the Endurance World Championship, North West 200 and Isle of Man TT for the Honda TT Legends outfit.