Gary Johnson targets Macau GP podium

Gary Johnson has never finished outside of the top five
Gary Johnson has never finished outside of the top five

Motorcycle racer Gary Johnson is looking to recreate former glories as he steps up preparations for the 2018 Macau GP.

The Broughton rider will this year be riding the Lee Hardy Racing, Briggs Equipment/RAF Reserves BMW on which he contested the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200 races earlier in the year.

Since then the bike has had chassis and electronics updates which proved to be very successful in the final few rounds of the British Superbike Championship, allowing Jake Dixon to finish second overall.

“I only rode the bike at the North West and TT races earlier this year so decided at the last minute to nip down to Brands Hatch to ride in the Superstock round for a bit of practice time,” the 38-year-old Lincolnshire rider said.

“But it didn’t go quite to plan as I crashed on the warm-up lap in the damp and slippery conditions.

“I was severely winded and hurt my hand which, when I pulled my glove off, was covered in blood.

“That has healed up nicely now, but my back was very sore so I went over to the medical centre to let them have a look.

“It turned out I had a fracture of the T6 vertebra which is still giving me grief.

“It has put me on the back foot a bit in my preparation for Macau, but I am having treatment three times a week in Doncaster which is proving to be very helpful and I am confident I will be fully fit in time for my trip to Macau.”

Johnson has seen success over the years at Macau with a best result of third in 2013, and a couple of fourth and fifth places to boot, meaning he has never finished outside the top five.

But can he get onto the podium again this year?

“Peter Hickman has to be the favourite for the win as he has won twice before and would have won again last year but for the red flag situation,” Johnson added.

“I do feel I’m in a strong position as this will be the second year for me with the same team.

“I just need a bit more time on the bike, but I can see it being a fierce fight at the front with Michael Rutter, Martin Jessop and Hickman, but if Hicky gets away it could be a fight between the three of us for second place.”

Practice takes place on Thursday and Friday, November 15 and 16, with the race taking place on Saturday, November 17.