TT TESTING GUY’S BACK ON TRACK
Martin ups pace on superbike spec Blade, but Mcguinness bins it
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