Ian Hutchinson: We can be competitive again in 2019

Ian Hutchinson at the North West 200 in 2018.
Ian Hutchinson at the North West 200 in 2018.

Honda Racing’s Ian Hutchinson says he is confident of challenging at the front again this season after an injury-hit 2018.

The Yorkshire rider was well below his best as he returned to the sport last year following a crash in the Senior race at the Isle of Man TT in 2017.

Yorkshire rider Ian Hutchinson on the Honda Racing Fireblade at last year's North West 200.

Yorkshire rider Ian Hutchinson on the Honda Racing Fireblade at last year's North West 200.

However, the ‘Bingley Bullet’ has been training hard over the winter and Hutchinson is aiming to make a successful start to the international road racing season at the fonaCAB North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils (May 14-18).

The 39-year-old will ride CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machines in the Superbike and Superstock classes plus a CBR600RR in the Supersport races.

Hutchinson said: “It’s great to be able to ride a bike properly again and after some time out testing in Spain I’m really looking forward to the road racing season starting again.

“I think we can be competitive this year, so I’m looking forward to getting to the North West and back on it.”

Hutchinson is joined in the Honda Racing line-up this year by Australian rider David Johnson.

“I’m excited to get testing underway and get out on the Honda,” said Johnson.

“It’s an exciting season for me signing with the team and I’m looking forward to the NW200 and getting a good feel during the races on the Fireblade.

“The Triangle is a great circuit for us to kick the season off with and always brings fast-paced competitive racing.”