McGUINNESS AND IRWIN LINE UP FOR HONDA RACING UK
Honda Racing UK is delighted to confirm that ‘TT Legend’ John McGuinness will return to Honda machinery in 2022, lining up alongside Glenn Irwin for the Isle of Man TT Races where the team will debut the race-winning CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP in the Superbike and Superstock classes.
RETURN OF THE KING
John, who needs no introduction to TT fans, has a vast and hugely successful history with Honda, having won twelve of the twenty TT wins the CBR1000RR Fireblade has amassed. Indeed, Honda still holds the accolade of the most successful manufacturer in the history of the Isle of Man TT Races, with 189 wins – 65 more than their nearest competition.
John reunites with the team just as he is due to celebrate his 100th TT race start. Honda meanwhile will also be celebrating a significant milestone in 2022 as the manufacturer marks the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade. Whilst bringing some notable upgrades for the season ahead, fans are also told to expect an iconic colour scheme that pays homage to the original ’92 version. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a special year for the ‘Morecambe Missile’ and the 23-time winner is naturally eager to get going.
“What can I say? It's like coming back home to the family! I've been in talks for a while with Neil and Havier and it's just something that feels right. It's the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade, I'll be 50-years-old, and I’ll also celebrating my 100th TT start. It feels like it's meant to be. It's going to be a special year with everything going on … I can't wait to get stuck in!”
NO EXPECTATIONS: GLENN IRWIN BRINGS HIS FIREBLADE TO THE TT READY TO LEARN
IRWIN AT LAST!
Joining John on the roads is four-time North West 200 Superbike race-winner and TT newcomer, Glenn Irwin. Originally targeting a TT debut in 2020, Glenn has had to wait two more years thanks to the worldwide pandemic. However, despite the lack of international road racing, Glenn has enjoyed significant success in the British Superbike Championship, not only helping the team to develop the Fireblade SP, but taking a number of wins and podiums along the way. Like McGuinness, Glenn can’t wait to line up on Glencrutchery Road, although arguably with less pressure, as he explains.
“Finally, I’ll be making my long-awaited TT debut with Honda! We still have no set targets or expectations for the Isle of Man TT Races; we’re going there to learn and enjoy. It’s incredible to have someone like John as my teammate on the roads. He’s someone I have always looked up to and is probably the second greatest TT rider after another Honda man – Joey! To have the opportunity to learn from him, be part of the team, and experience the ‘McGuinness-factor’ is something I am really excited about.”
For Team Manager, Havier Beltran, John’s return also feels natural. Having worked together at Honda under the HM Plant banner, Havier describes the tie-up as a ‘homecoming for all’, noting that Honda Racing UK are also returning to the TT for the first time since 2010. The scene of twenty incredible victories for Honda and the famous Fireblade, Havier is understandably excited about an island return.
“It's going to be an exciting season for us all with the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade and John's 100th TT start. For him to do this back with Honda just made complete sense; Honda has so much history with John at the TT. We also have Glenn, who will finally make his debut at the TT, which has been a long time coming, but we're equally excited for this and to see how he gets on. There's absolutely no pressure on Glenn. It's about learning and finding his way at the TT and, with John's experience, I don't think he could ask for a better teammate.”
READY TO MAKE MORE HISTORY: JOHN AND HAVIER SURROUNDED BY HONDA’S RACING PEDIGREE
For Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles at Honda UK, the shared history between the legendary manufacturer and the fabled race makes for the perfect backdrop for all the celebrations and firsts. He sums up nicely, leaving us all to look forward to TT 2022 with even greater anticipation.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be returning to the international road racing programme following the challenges of the last few years, particularly as 2021 would have been the 60th anniversary of Honda’s first TT win with Mike Hailwood in 1961. Quite simply, the Isle of Man TT has been an integral part of Honda’s DNA, and to continue this story with a returning ‘TT Legend’ like John, who can also help and support Glenn in his first year, is a really exciting prospect for us.”