Sports News

McGuinness makes it sweet sixteen in Superbike opener

Sat, 04 Jun 2011  14:59

John McGuinness - Top of the podium for a sixteenth time
John McGuinness - Top of the podium for a sixteenth time

John McGuinness has clinched his sixteenth Mountain Course victory in the opening race of TT2011.

The Morecambe rider maintained a sequence stretching back to 2004 in the opening event of TT 2011, taking a dominant one minute win on a race marked by attrition for the top runners.

When he’s finished a ‘big bike’ race since then the Honda TT Legends rider hasn’t been beaten, and he set about business as if today’s was already done and dusted, building a two second lead by halfway round the opening lap.

Padgetts Honda man Bruce Anstey had something to say about it though, closing to within half a second by the end of the lap, and taking the lead early on the next.

Even allowing for slowing down to come into his first pitstop, the Kiwi set the fastest lap of the race at 131.378mph, a second outside Connor Cummins lap record.

However, that re-fuel would be his undoing, losing 12 seconds to McGuinness during the stop before retiring at Quarry bends later on lap 3.

It promoted fan's favourite Guy Martin to second, though the TAS Suzuki rider was dicing for the spot throughout laps 3 and 4 with Yorkshireman Gary Johnson, who’d impressed all of practice week on his Honda. They swapped places regularly, until Johnson picked up a 30 second penalty in the second pitstop at the end of lap 4, dropping him into fourth behind Wilson Craig Honda rider Cameron Donald.

Meanwhile, McGuinness was stretching the lead to 20 seconds, and it was soon to become a full minute back to the Australian Donald, as Martin retired at Hilberry at the end of lap 5.

It promoted Johnson back into third as the race finished, with McGuinness’s team-mate Keith Amor riding a superb race given his shoulder injuries form an accident earlier in the week to finish fourth.

Even more remarkable was the performance of Michael Dunlop. He lost two minutes in the lap 2 stop, even taking his helmet off as the team struggled to fit a new rear wheel to the Street Sweep Kawasaki. He was persuaded to continue and rode back into fifth by the finish, with Dan Stewart Sixth and brother William seventh.

Of the locals, Connor Cummins was in the top ten throughout the early laps, but retired at Signpost, and Dan Kneen called time after lap 3.

The top three spoke to RadioTT at the finish. [Media files below]

Media

  • John McGuinness
  • Cameron Donald
  • Gary Johnson
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