TT 2017: McGuinness: 'It could have been mint'

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John McGuinness has put Honda’s nightmare 2017 Isle of Man TT down to a lack of development time with the new CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.

Late delivery of the machines meant McGuinness and team-mate Guy Martin would spend most of their pre-season test schedule riding Superstock-spec machinery before getting their first run out on the Superbike-spec SP2 in April at Castle Combe.

And while the 23-time TT winner was able to run a similar pace at the Wiltshire track as to what he did on the old bike, he was the first to admit they needed more testing time ahead of the North West 200.

McGuinness’ 2017 season was cruelly brought to a premature end after technical issues with the machine led to a crash during practice at the North West.

This would then lead Honda to switch from the kit ECU they had been testing to the proven MoTeC system used in BSB and while sole rider Guy Martin was said to be happier with the bike, it proved to be a difficult TT for the Lincolnshire TV ace.

After a lack of track time in practice week due to poor weather conditions and a crash, caused by a false neutral, on the opening lap of the Superbike race, Martin would eventually withdraw from the Senior TT to bring an early end to Honda’s nightmare.


“We thought this new bike would be the step forward, but we haven’t had the time to develop it,” McGuinness told MCN after the Senior TT.  “It was the dream team for Honda really. They had the most experienced rider out there, the bloke with the most wins and then Guy who hasn’t won a TT but is very popular!

“It could have been mint; we could have worked off each other but he’s ended up on his own trying to develop the bike. We never really found a base setting, so he’s found it difficult and with the lack of track time I’m sure that’s got his confidence down. Old Neil is retiring, Jonny Twelvetrees has got the reins, it’s a real difficult one. They’ll learn from it. They’ll lick their wounds, go back, bash their heads together and make a plan for the future.”

For McGuinness’ full 2017 Isle of Man TT round-up, pick up this week’s MCN.  

Pick up a copy of our special edition McGuinness: Ordinary bloke. Extraordinary Racer. This special from MCN, celebrates the career of one of the sport’s best-loved road racers. Affectionately known as McPint, John’s career has wowed and entertained bike racing fans for more than 20 years. Buy it here. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing