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TT 2017: Privateer Johnson ‘better prepared than other years’

Conspicious by his absence in both pre-season build up and the North West 200, Gary Johnson has made a promising start to his 2017 Isle of Man TT campaign, where he’s running his own team with both Suzuki and Triumph machinery.

Whilst track time has been limited both before arriving on the island - where he competed in just two Thundersport meetings - and during practice week, the Lincolnshire rider has thus far set the seventh fastest time in the Superbike class on the new Suzuki GSXR1000, lapping at 124.11mph. He’s also the fourth quickest rider in the Supersport class with a speed of 120.311mph on the Reactive Parts Triumph.

“I can’t complain with how it’s gone so far with the laps we’ve had and although I haven’t had much track time, I’m happy so far. It’s been a real battle in the months leading up to the TT both with budget and the late arrival of parts and that played a major part in me missing the North West 200. I made a decision to prioritise where I was riding so rather than go to Ireland half-heartedly, I made the conscious effort to focus on getting ready for the TT,” Johnson told bikesportnews.com.


“We had a run out on the Suzuki at Cadwell on the Monday before coming here and I’ve only made one alteration to the bike so far. The Superbike and Superstock machines are pretty much the same bike so I’m not running a full-blown Superbike but it feels really stable and with a few more tweaks, the speed will come. I backed right off over the Mountain last night so there’s definitely a lot more to come.

“I’ve been struggling a bit with the ECU but PCR Performance and Dynojet are working through stuff and while I might not be heavily mileaged up, I’m probably better prepared than I have been other years.

A double Supersport TT winner, in 2011 on Honda and 2014 with Triumph, Johnson acknowledges his best chances of success will probably come in the two four-lap 600cc races where he’ll be back on Triumphs, having purchased the two East Coast Construction machines previously ridden by Lee Johnston.

“I’ve done a fair bit of tweaking to the bikes since I bought them off East Coast and have refined the package I’ve got whilst I’m also running two different suspension set-ups on the two bikes. John Trigger is working with me and it’s all going really well so due to the late arrival of parts for the Suzuki, I’m expecting the Supersport races to give me my best shot at a race win.”

Johnson on that Bray Hill feeling

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