Gary Johnson, one of the five British wild-card entrants for this weekend's World Superbike Championship round at Donington Park, has been forced to withdraw after failing to fully recover from an ongoing knee injury.
The 27-year-old rider was due to race a Uel Duncan Racing Honda alongside fellow wild-card entrants Tom Sykes, Cal Crutchlow, Leon Haslam and James Ellison, but a spill at the Skerries 100 meeting back in July has caused a knee problem that has yet to heal.
A massive disappointment for the Lincolnshire rider, the decision was a reluctant one, although he considers it necessary in order for the knee to fully heal.
“Unfortunately, my knee still isn't strong enough to ride this weekend and I've had to withdraw from the meeting, which is a huge disappointment for all of us,” he said. “It's two months since I sustained the injury at Skerries and although I managed to practice at the Ulster GP last month, I was still in a lot of pain.
“I could have gone out there this weekend but the knee simply isn't strong enough to ride a Superbike at this level of competition so withdrawing was the only real option. It would have been a superb experience for both me and the team and I'm really grateful to have been handed a 'wild card' but sadly it wasn't meant to be.”
Nonetheless, Johnson does plan to make a Superbike appearance later this year by entering the final round of the British Championship at Brands Hatch.
“I'm still receiving regular physio on the knee and am doing all I can to be back out on the bike this season so, hopefully, I'll be able to compete at the final round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch.”