Ian Hutchinson will sit out this year’s TT after suffering a stroke when out on a cycle training ride in Spain earlier this month.
As a direct result, the 16-time TT winner’s racing licence has been revoked for 12 months by the ACU, which is standard protocol with the racing’s governing body.
It’s a huge disappointment for the talented Yorkshireman who has suffered more than his fair share of injury and bad luck over the years. His TAS Racing team will also be missing the event for the first time in 23 years (apart from Covid and foot-and-mouth).
Team principal, Philip Neill said: ‘Ian’s day-to-day health is of paramount importance to all involved and while he is making a remarkable recovery, already given the all clear to drive his car – rules are rules and we must respect them.
‘He is obviously bitterly disappointed after putting in the hard yards over the winter months, spinning many laps on a TAS Racing-prepared Milwaukee BMW M 1000 RR Superstock specification machine in Spain.’
The team will be represented at the TT by its title partner Milwaukee as they are also a leading event sponsor, so Hutchy will be in the island representing both the team and Milwaukee during race week.
Milwaukee BMW will be at the North West 200 in May with BSB star Alastair Seeley as their rider.
TOP-20 SEEDS FOR
BIG BIKE TT RACES
Meanwhile, the top 20 seeded riders for the 1,000cc RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock, and Milwaukee Senior TT races have been announced.
Leading the field away at number one, as he did in 2018, will be David Johnson on the C&L Fairburn Properties by Jackson Racing Honda, with the Australian getting his first TT action since 2019 after injury forced him out of last year’s event.
He’ll be followed at number 2 by 2019 Senior TT winner Dean Harrison, who continues in his familiar starting position on the DAO Racing Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Harrison starts 10 seconds ahead of 23-time winner John McGuinness who assumes the number 3 spot once more for Honda Racing UK, after being the first man on the road for his 100th TT start 12 months ago.
At number 4 is Jamie Coward, who has been rewarded with a big step up the order after four top-six finishes and an impressive showing at TT 2022. Coward will ride a new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade for the same KTS Racing team, switching from Yamaha.
James Hillier goes off at his regular spot riding with number 5 for OMG Racing Yamaha, whilst Michael Dunlop will once again start at number 6. Continuing with Hawk Racing for another year, Dunlop is another rider to switch to Honda for the new season, the first time he’s campaigned the Fireblade since 2013.
A returning Josh Brookes will get his race week underway from number 7 on the FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR, ahead of expected front runner Davey Todd. Like 2022, the rising star who took a maiden TT podium in 2022 will start at number 8 on the Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles Honda.
Lee Johnston moves up the order from his familiar number 13 to number 9 on the Ashcourt Racing Honda, and ten seconds behind him will be the outright lap record holder, Peter Hickman, who takes his customary number 10 position for another year. Riding the FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR once more, Hickman is expected to run in different livery to the usual black and green.
The second Milenco by Padgett’s Honda of Conor Cummins will again be aiming to reel in Hickman from his starting position of number 11. Just behind him is Bathams Racing’s Michael Rutter, who drops outside the top ten but will still stand courtesy of the howling V4 in his MotoGP-derived Honda RC213V-S.
With Johnston moving up four spots, the number 13 plate has been taken by Dominic Herbertson on the Belgrave Motors Racing BMW M 1000 RR and he’ll be closely followed down Glencrutchery Road by Phillip Crowe at 14.
Behind him, two of last year’s sensations, Nathan Harrison (Honda Racing UK) and Mike Browne (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing) are deservedly elevated up into the seeded numbers for the first time at 15 and 16 respectively, and their progress will be eagerly watched.
Two-time winner Gary Johnson had an understated year on the Island in 2022 and subsequently drops down the order to number 17, with the high-quality top twenty completed by Shaun Anderson (Team Classic Suzuki), Sam West (PRL/Moto Hub) and Rutter’s team-mate Craig Neve (Bathams Racing).
Fans will be able to find the full entry lists for all races exclusively in the 2023 Official Programme. This year’s programme will be available to buy online as well as in-store on the Isle of Man from the end of April and is set to be bursting with all the exclusive features, insights and race information you need for the complete TT experience. Fans can sign up here to the TT’s Official Newsletter to be the first to know when the programme goes on sale.