TT 2022: 100th start, fifth place for McGuinness

TT and Roads

Image: Impact Pictures

John McGuinness celebrated his 100th start to the Isle of Man TT races on Saturday with a fine fifth place in the six-lap RST Superbike race, the 23-time winner returning to the top five in a 1000cc race for the first time since 2016.

In a TT career that began in 1996, the Morecambe Missile was back with Honda Racing on the island for the first time in six years and back on the Honda Fireblade he had enjoyed so much success with in the past and a good week of qualifying put him in a good position going into the opening race.

With perfect conditions all around the world famous 37.73 mile mountain course, a strong opening lap of 128.43 mph saw John drop to tenth place but from then on he was able to increase your pace and steadily move up the leaderboard.

Indeed, a second lap at 129.27mph saw him move up three places and up to seventh and who quickly became fourth after an exemplary pit stop by his crew late in the lap. However, only 13 covered John from fourth to seventh place James Hillier with regular training partner Ian Hutchinson and Jamie Coward sandwiched in between.

A fourth lap of 129.14mph meant John’s advantage over Hutchinson was only 3.5 seconds and with the Bingley driver having a faster sixth and final lap he was able to overhaul John but he duly kept a good fifth place to conclude his 100th start in fine style.

“I don’t know if the morning warm-up lap did me any favors because I was a little slow at the start of the race, but I had no problems, I got all the points, I made two solid pit stops and kept chipping away,” McGuinness said.

“The conditions were absolutely stunning and I’ve never seen so many people on the course – the atmosphere was out of this world – so I can’t think of a better day for my 100th start. The bike was flawless and I did my best.

“Did I think I would win it? No. Did I enjoy? Yes. And after having had a few dark days in the past, I never thought I would do it again, starting at number 1 on the Honda Fireblade and circling the Mountain Course at almost 130 mph.

“I kept seeing P4 and P5 on my pits and when I saw number 4 below I knew Hutchy would be determined to beat me – he spent the whole winter in the gym while I ate pies!I’m still happy with my fifth place and after so many people still have faith in me, not more than Honda, it’s really good to reward them with a good result.

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