You might think that John McGuinness has taken a ride with Padgetts in this year’s British Supersport series just to get race fit for the all-important Centenary TT but that’s not necessarily the case.
MCN spoke to the TT Lap Record holder recently during the official Honda Racing team launch at the Sports Café, London to find out why.
MCN: You’ve tested the Padgetts Honda. What’s it like?
McGuinness: Incredible. It’s amazing how hard you can ride it. With the superstock bike I races last year (HM Plant Honda FireBlade) I had to stop the superstocker before I could turn.
With the new CBR6000RR I just turn it in and it’s on rails. It seems like I push harder and harder each lap. There’s no need to trail brake – it just rails around the corners.
I tested the old 600 first and just kept running wide in corners. The new bike is so small it feels like a 205 and I’m perched on top of it. That’s why it’s so important to lose some weight this year.
MCN: Are you on a dieting and fitness programme then?
McGuinness: I know I’m a bit overweight and I like stuffing it to people, beating them when I am fat bastard. But that’s not possible in the supersport class.
I have to lose weight. It’s a standing joke that McGuinness is a fat boy. I’ve a plan to lose weight.
If I don’t lose a certain amount then it affects my wages. I lost a huge amount of money at the first weigh-in when I failed to meet the target.
That won’t happen again. But it’s not easy. I’m 35 now and it takes a lot of hard work to get the weight off.
MCN: Is it working though?
McGuinness: Yeah, and I do feel better for it. People think I’m fat and lazy but personally I want to be fitter. I do feel like slob at times getting out of bed.
We did 600 miles in testing in Spain last week and I could still get out of bed in a couple of minutes instead of taking ten minutes to roll my fat body out of it.
Even all my old injuries feel better for it. I’m a happy chappy again.
MCN: So why’s it so important to race in Supersport this year?
McGuinness: I’m known as a road racer and I’ve done what I can to prove what I’m capable of. But I also know what I’ve got and I really don’t want to lose it.
I really want to do a good job (in Supersport). I want it that bad it’s killing me. It’s keeping me up at night thinking about it and I’ve not felt that way for a long time.
MCN: What about the TT? You set an incredible pace last year. Are we going to see a 130mph lap this year?
McGuinness: Last year I didn’t even think 129 was possible. 128 maybe. My bike never missed a beat and we had perfect weather. I wanted to win it.
Then at the pit stop I overheard it on the radio that I’d done 129. I couldn’t believe it. Yes, 130mph is possible now. Maybe even 131.
The TT is such an amazing when it’s all going good. This year it’s the 100th so it’s a bit special and I still very much want to race.
Honda put their faith in me last year. Built the bike to suit me. We won both superbike races – and the supersport. Hopefully we can do the same this year.