Gary Johnson is left fuming as Martin nets his Isle of Man TT seat
Gary Johnson, who won the 2014 Supersport title at the Isle of Man TT, will sensationally be replaced in the Smiths Triumph set-up at this year's June showpiece by network Television star and part-time truck mechanic Guy Martin - who is still without a win at the iconic Manx event.
Despite handing the British team and manufacturer a coveted TT win last June, and offering to ride for free in 2015, Johnson was told there was no place for him in the Smiths set-up this year on the roads.
"I'm as shocked as anyone at the decision after giving Smiths and Triumph a win on their debut at the TT last year," said the hard charging Lincolnshire man, who isn't completely in the wilderness, having secured a deal to ride in the 1000cc classes this year on the roads for the factory-backed GB Moto Kawasaki team.
But he is a little exasperated at the late decision.
"I suppose the lure of Guy and the TV exposure he brings was too hard for them to turn down. All I can do now is go and find a top-class team," he lamented.
"I have proven that I can win TT, something Guy has still to do. I would love to have been given the chance to ride alongside Guy in the same team, as I'd have mentally destroyed him before we even got to the race-track," said Johnson assertively.
Martin will ride for Tyco BMW on the roads this year in the 1000cc classes, but with the German manufacturer not able to provide a middleweight machine, he has jumped on what is potentially the best Supersport bike for the job between the hedges.
Martin said of the deal: "I wanted the best tool for the job in the Supersport class, so I rang the Smiths team and we ended up doing a deal. I reckon the Triumph is the bike to be on, and I have a few jobs with the Triumph after the TT - so I'm looking forward to getting them sorted."
Martin's Tyco BMW team-mate William Dunlop will ride a Yamaha R6 for Randalstown businessman Chris Dowd at the three internationals, leaving just a question mark over what machinery, if any, Alastair Seeley will ride at this year's NW200.