Martin ups pace on su­per­bike spec Blade, but Mcguin­ness bins it

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News - By Stephen Dav­i­son MCN ROADS RE­PORTER

John Mcguin­ness suf­fered a blow to his TT 2017 prepa­ra­tions when he dis­lo­cated a thumb in a crash dur­ing the Honda Rac­ing squad’s first su­per­bike shake­down test at Cas­tle Combe last week.

Mcguin­ness and his team-mate Guy Martin were com­plet­ing the two-day test on the su­per­bike ver­sions of the new CBR1000RR SP2 Fire­blade when the crash oc­curred on the ap­proach to The Esses sec­tion of the Wilt­shire cir­cuit.

The 44-year-old was in good spir­its af­ter be­ing X-rayed and re­leased from hos­pi­tal af­ter hav­ing his dis­lo­cated thumb put back in place. He did not break any bones.

“When I told the nurse I was a mo­tor­bike racer she asked me did I know that Guy Martin fella that’s on the telly!” he smiled.

“She was my best mate when I told her he was my team-mate and we’d been rid­ing to­gether all day but it still hurt like hell when she put my thumb back in again.”

Be­fore the More­cambe man had hit the dirt ev­ery­thing ap­peared on track with the new Honda as Mcguin­ness gelled with his 2017 Su­per­bike and Se­nior TT mount.

“I am happy and we are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” he told MCN just a few min­utes be­fore the fate­ful ses­sion.

With the late de­liv­ery of the new Fire­blade all of Honda’s race squads have strug­gled to make the bike com­pet­i­tive out of the crate but the TT squad have a lit­tle more time to play with. Run­ning kit ig­ni­tion also keeps the race con­ver­sion more straight­for­ward.

Mcguin­ness was im­pressed by the new su­per­bike that had been com­pleted on the evening be­fore the test. “It seems eas­ier to match the times that we have done here be­fore,” he said.

“It is a new chap­ter with a new bike and you can’t just rock up and be on it from the word go. A lot of the dif­fer­ences with the elec­tron­ics and fly-by­wire throt­tle are way above my head but we are get­ting through the test pro­gramme and learn­ing as we go.

“I re­ally like the new en­gine brak­ing sys­tem and this bike doesn’t back into cor­ners the way the old bike did so it isn’t as phys­i­cally de­mand­ing to ride.”

Mcguin­ness has tested at Cas­tle Combe since 2005 and his fa­mil­iar­ity with the 1.85-mile track al­lows him to as­sess any changes in a bike’s per­for­mance.

“Nowhere can repli­cate the TT but it is good for every­body to get to­gether here, to work with Guy and all the me­chan­ics, the sus­pen­sion guys, the Dun­lop peo­ple and the rest of the team to help ev­ery­thing gel,” Mcguin­ness said.

“Yes the bike is late but we have to get on with it and I don’t think we are in bad shape at the mo­ment.”

One ma­jor change for Mcguin­ness is the shift to Öh­lins sus­pen­sion for 2017. Pre­vi­ously the TT mae­stro had opted for K-tech front forks and a Showa rear unit but with the new Fire­blade road bike run­ning Öh­lins as stock that op­tion has now gone.

Mcguin­ness added: “I only matched the lap that I did be­fore at last year’s TT and we can’t af­ford to do that again. We have to go faster so we have to change.”

Mcguin­ness ad­mits he would like a lit­tle more power from the new mo­tor.

“If we can find more power, which I think we can, then I’ll be happy. A lit­tle bit bet­ter might just be good enough!”

‘I want a bit more power. A lit­tle bit bet­ter, might be good enough’ JOHN MCGUIN­NESS

Mcguin­ness dis­lo­cated his thumb, but does not ex­pect to miss any test­ing

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