Save for a disastrous year with Norton, Isle of Man TT hero John McGuinness spent most of his racing life on a Honda but for 2020 the Morecambe man will change to the Quattro Kawasaki team which he says is a ‘clean sheet of paper’.
McGuinness has 23 TT wins under his belt and at the age of 47 is still determined to run at the front of the most famous motorcycle race in the world despite last year’s challenges.
“I’ve had a tough couple of years, which we all know about, hope nobody here’s got a deposit on a Norton, but it’s a clean sheet of paper for me now. Pete came up to my house, put his cards on the table, and I just jumped at it you know new chapter, new challenge, I’m up for it,” McGuinness told bikesportnews.com.
“We have some testing mid-march, I’ve met the team, the camaraderie is good. Feels weird to be in green. Thirty years last night was my first race, and my first racebike was a Kawasaki, a KR-1S, so this is full circle now. This bike looks amazing though.
I want to run at the sharp end obviously. If I thought I couldn’t still run at the sharp end, I wouldn’t want to waste people’s time and effort. But I’m worried, I am worried I’m not going to be able to run right at the front. But with the preparation we have in front of us, we’ve got everything covered you know.
“There is enough time. We’ve got some testing to do in Spain, we can do as much or as little as we want. We’ll do Castle Combe, hopefully we’ll do Castle Combe. But also, we can put a bike in a van and go and ride, you now, there’s no budget or politics, we can do what we want, you know. So I’m going to so some miles, we’ve got lots of plans with these guys. I just want to run at the front.”
McGuinness is approaching 50 years old and is two decades on from his first TT win - the 1999 Lightweight TT - but the hunger for wins in still there. ‘A disease’ he calls it…
“You know, Joey Dunlop won three at 48, there’s no reason why we can’t. I still enjoy it, I still enjoy riding bikes, it’s hard to let go, it’s like a disease is motorbikes. When you’re still going round everything’s going good, you want to ride and you know I want something to enter my head, and say ‘I’ve had enough now John, and that’s it and walk away. I’d stay involved in the sport and industry you know, I love it.”