Competition tougher than ever for McGuinness

John McGuinness tops the podium after winning his 21st TT, the TT Zero in 2014.

John McGuinness tops the podium after winning his 21st TT, the TT Zero in 2014.

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John McGuinness believes he has more competition than ever at this year’s Isle of Man TT.

The Morecambe Missile is looking to add to his 21 wins on the island but knows the 2015 field is wide open.

John McGuinness in action

John McGuinness in action

The road race great, which gets underway with the first Superbike race on Saturday, said: “There are people with points to prove, there are people who’ve changed manufacturers.

“Michael Dunlop will push and push, Guy Martin has switched to the race winning bikes having not won one yet.

“Hutch (Ian Hutchinson) is back from his leg injury, Gaz Johnson’s fast, my team-mate Connor Cummins was second last year, he’s knocking on the door and is fit and strong.

“I haven’t really got one rival – there are half-a-dozen. I don’t think you can predict who’s going to win. It is wide open.

“Obviously the fastest man is going to win on the day but he’s going to have to go some to win it.”

After an injury-hit 2014 you could argue McGuinness is an outsider in the elite group.

But having won the 2013 Senior TT, the festival’s blue riband finale, the Honda rider is targeting at least one victory.

“I’d like to win one,” said the 43-year-old. “I just think of where I left off in the 2013 Senior.

“I won the race and broke the race record and then I broke my wrist. My fitness level is back where I was in 2013, which is the fastest guy round there over six laps.

“If I can find that form again there’s no reason why we can’t run at the front. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t win one.

“But if I finish second or third, and I’m six or seven seconds behind the win and I’ve had a good strong TT, I’ll be happy as long as I get the best out of myself. I just want to be strong, competitive, fast and safe with some good weather. And then it would be great to win one or two or three.”

McGuinness will also lead the field out as the No.1 bike and he is well aware that many consider him the man to beat. “I look down the entry list and you’ve got me, James) Hillier, Dunlop, Michael Rutter, Bruce Anstey, the other Dunlop, Gary Johnson,” he said. “All these are winners. All these have been over 130mph.

“I’ve got the target on my back – I’m No.1.”

McGuinness’ 21st TT win came in the electric Zero TT last year.

The Morecambe Missile will again be looking to break new ground when he takes to the mountain course on the Mugen Shinden Honda.

The 43-year-old said: “A big part of our programme this year is the electric bike.

“It’s the fourth year of the Mugen electric bike entry.

“It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, people snigger at it a bit.

“They want petrol engines and the noise and stuff but I think it’s something where we’ll all look back in 50 years time and I’m proud that I’ll probably be one of the pioneers of it really.

“I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it, there’s a lot of money in it as well.

“It’s been a fantastic challenge. I’ve cried with them with happiness and cried with them with sadness.

“I work directly with Mr Honda (Soichiro’s son Hirotoshi). I work with the godfather of it really. It’s a huge deal for them. They never look back they always go forwards. They build a new bike every year. I really enjoy working with them.”

The TT Zero race takes place on Wednesday, June 10.