John McGuinness on a mission as he claims 18th Isle of Man TT victory
Honda TT Legend John McGuinness took his 18th Isle of Man TT victory today in a thrilling Superbike opener that saw the Morecambe man tackle the six-lap, 226-mile race with poise and control.
Having started from the number one spot, McGuinness dropped briefly into third place on lap one before regaining the lead ahead of World Endurance team-mate Cameron Donald in second and Guy Martin in third. He proceeded to widen the gap with every lap, aided by two slick pit stops by the Honda TT Legends crew.
By the end of lap five, McGuinness has built up a lead of over 14 seconds on Donald, while fellow Honda rider Bruce Anstey had passed Martin to take third. The final lap went smoothly with no change to the line-up, leaving McGuinness to cross the finish line first, claiming his 18th Isle of Man TT win and his seventh in the Superbike class (formerly the Formula 1 class).
Today’s victory takes Honda’s tally of TT wins to 161 – 58 of which have been won by the Louth-based team behind the Honda TT Legends. McGuinness was joined on the podium by Donald (Wilson Craig Racing) and Anstey (Padgett’s MMCG Racing) to make up a Honda 1-2-3. Simon Andrews suffered a high speed crash on lap one of the race. He was conscious and taken to hospital where x-rays showed a cracked shoulder, a broken wrist and a broken ankle on his previously injured right leg. The 2012 Isle of Man TT races will continue on Monday with the Supersport and Superstock races.
We’ve been doing a lot of testing and riding in the lead up to this race, including the Bol d’Or 24-hour, so we’ve done a lot hours on the bike. We came here off the back of a great North West 200 and we just hit the ground running. I set off number one, I had a clear road and there wasn’t anybody there to trip me up. I got stuck in from the start and when I saw that Cameron was in front of me at the end of lap one I just knew I needed to dig deep. Our crew in the pits are fantastic – they seem to have a magic wand that gets me out of there five seconds faster than anyone else so this is big credit to them. To compete in the TT and to finish a TT is incredible; to win one is amazing but to win 18, well I’m just lost for words.
That is the 18th win for John and the 58th win for our team on the TT circuit in the last 22 years, so we’re over the moon. What’s even more pleasing is that it was a Honda 1-2-3 and there were five Hondas in the top six, which proves what a great race machine the Fireblade is. From John’s point of view, he just controlled the race. I knew after the first two laps that we had nothing to worry about because he knows how to win a TT. He started increasing the lead and he was totally in control as always. Another excellent TT win from John. It’s a huge shame for Simon that his TT is over but we are all pleased to hear that he is alert and chatting with his chief mechanic from hospital. We’ll bring updates on his situation as we get them.
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