Smiths Triumph answers critics over Guy Martin signing

Team says potential TV exposure had nothing to do with choosing Martin over double winner Gary Johnson

SMITHS Triumph has responded to criticism over its decision to sign Lincolnshire racer Guy Martin for this year’s Isle of Man TT Supersport races instead of double TT winner Gary Johnson.

Last year Johnson won the first Supersport race of 2014 with Smiths Triumph.

Following the team's decision to sign Martin this year, Johnson told the Belfast Telegraph: 'I suppose the lure of Guy and the TV exposure he brings was too hard for them to turn down.'

Now the team has responded in a statement from manager Rebecca Smith, in which she says Johnson's 'financial expectations' had changed.

The statement also followed criticism on social media.

Smith said: 'Whilst delighted to have confirmed our plans of the 2015 TT Races, we have been very disappointed with the subsequent comments on the various media platforms.

'For the record, Gary was offered the Supersport TT ride with us for the 2015 TT back in October 2014, when I met with him at the final round of the MCE British Superbike Championship.

'Those initial discussions highlighted that Gary’s financial expectations had transformed drastically since him riding for us in 2014 and, whilst we were prepared to improve the package for 2015, they were just too far apart from what our budget allowed and this was made clear at that very early stage.

'As a team, the deal from our side had not changed logistically. The bike is better having undergone further development work, the crew he would be working with would be the same and the testing plan would have been as 2014.

'I am not prepared to disclose any of the financial discussions that took place between Gary and I as I deem these to be confidential, but I will say that those which have been printed in the media over the last week or so are vastly incorrect.

'Right up until recently, the deal was still on offer to Gary but we were not prepared to increase our initial offer. We were subsequently approached by Guy Martin who asked if he could acquire a Triumph Daytona 675R from us to use at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Races.

'As a result, and realising that the 2015 festival was only three months away, and having not reached an agreement with Gary, we agreed to supply that earmarked machine for Guy to use.There is no hidden agenda with the deal with Guy, no television or commercial deals as some are suggesting. We want to work with him and he wants to work with us, there really is nothing more to it than that.'