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2018 PI Classic: 'I knew I could mix it at the front' - Johnson

Aussie David Johnson says it feels fantastic to bag pole position ahead of the four International Challenge races, which gets underway tomorrow at the Phillip Island Classic.

The 33-year-old, who will now reside in Hinckley when he returns to the UK, stormed to a 1'37.352 in the second eight-minute qualifying session this afternoon, which is his first pole position in the International Challenge and the first pole for the Green and Gold team since Jed Metcher scored pole two years ago.

“I knew we were close. I was still getting used to the bike really,” Johnson explained to bikesportnews.com.  “I chose a soft tyre and at the end of the last lap, I thought – fuck it, I’m going for it here.”


However, Johnson did lose a lot in the last two sectors as his bike was spinning up. But in true Johnson style he just held it on and kept marching on with the job at hand.

Johnson is simply just glad to be back on a competitive bike, as last year the Suzuki Katana which he piloted to a DNF-14-13-11 which handed him eighteenth place overall was an absolute nail of a bike.

“The DMR Motorsport Suzuki XR69 is simply amazing. Full credit to Trevor [Birrel] for building the engines and Tom Dermody for having me back,” beamed Johnson. “Since I have ridden the bike this weekend I have not changed a click on it.”

In fact, in qualifying two was the first time Johnson used a new rear tyre. With a new Dunlop rear fitted Johnson admitted that he knew he was going to be there thereabouts.

“The first session on this bike, I knew I was going to be mixing at the front. I’m just glad Tom had faith in me and brought me back.”

Johnson first rode Dermody’s XR69 in 2011 when it was brand new and only had 130 horsepower, and now it has an extra 50 horsepower, which Johnson labelled as a 'weapon'.

With Johnson’s consistency on the tyre which he had in qualifying two, which was a soft tyre, he is more than confident he can convert his pole position into a string of solid race results.

“Tomorrow we will have a bit more of a harder tyre in the bike. I’m not going to change anything what so ever on the suspension, I’m just going to ride it and see how we go. I’m confident of getting good results.”

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