With qualifying for TT 2022 almost complete, Lee Johnston’s name has again been at the sharp end in the Supersport and Supertwin classes with the latter, in particular, catching the eye.
The Ashcourt Racing runner has taken advantage of the new rules in the class, opting to run one of the RS660 Aprilias and although he admits he’s up against it with the Patons and Kawasakis the proven front runners, he’s already proven he’ll be a challenger come the four-lap race on Wednesday.
With three sessions now under his belt, Thursday evening saw him post his best lap to date on the Aprilia with a lap of 118.454mph. That puts him fourth on the leaderboard behind the flying Patons of Peter Hickman and Michael Dunlop and the Kawasaki of Jamie Coward.
“I’ve managed four laps now on the Aprilia and it’s getting better with each lap,” he said. “It’s such a new machine compared to everything else on the grid whilst the Patons and Kawasakis are tried and tested and proven race winners.
“Hicky’s jumped on the Paton and done a near 121mph lap as it’s a well set up bike whilE our bike is essentially the £11k bike you can buy from the showroom. We’re starting from scratch but all we’ve done is a tiny bit of engine work and put a K-Tech shock in it and that’s about it.”
“We’re about 10mph down through the speedtrap and are still trying to get new bodywork and fit a new screen but, like I say, we’re improving every night. The 118mph lap felt good but there are at least two fast Patons out there with Pete and Michael whilst Jamie (Coward) will be challenging for the win on his Kawasaki so if I can get on the podium it’ll be a good day.”
Currently lying second in the British Supersport Championship, Johnston’s lap on the R6 Yamaha of 125.202mph on Thursday evening has also put him fourth quickest there too as he looks to repeat his Supersport victory of 2019.
“Everything’s going well with the 600 and the 125mph lap was from a standing start so it’s all feeling good there. I haven’t had much time on the big bikes though and we had a cam sensor go on the BMW last night so didn’t get out on it.
“I think I’ve only done three laps in total so we’ve got a lot of work to do with set up. If we don’t get out tonight (Friday) we’ll have to use the six-lap Superbike race as more preparation and date gathering for Monday’s Superstock race.”