John McGuinness forms exciting Honda duo with returning Guy Martin

John McGuinness and Guy Martin will lead Honda Racing's charge in 2017.
John McGuinness and Guy Martin will lead Honda Racing's charge in 2017.
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John McGuinness will be joined by the returning Guy Martin as part of Honda’s team for the 2017 road racing season.

The pair will ride the new Fireblade SP2 in the Superbike class at the Isle of Man TT and North West 200.

McGuinness continues his long association with Honda while the signing of TV personality and fan favourite Martin, who hasn’t raced since a big crash at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015, has sent shockwaves through the sport.

The Morecambe Missile will be looking to move closer to Joey Dunlop’s record of 26 TT wins and also regain the lap record he lost last year.

“I’m back with Honda for another year, really I’m part of the family and I can’t wait to see what the new Fireblade SP2 can do,” said the 23-time TT winner, now 44.

“I know the old model like the back of my hand and have taken a lot of my TT wins with the old girl, so I can’t wait to get out on track and try the new machine out.

“I have a good feeling about this year and think we have a really good package to show that we mean business.

“I of course would like another TT win and I would quite like my lap record back.

“I always say when it’s broken that the lads are just borrowing it and I hope this year that this is the case.

“I am sad to say bye to the old Fireblade. I have a lot of history and good memories with that bike, but testing the new model can’t come soon enough and neither can the race season.

“I’m excited to have Guy as my new team-mate.

“We’ve enjoyed many a racing battle over the years and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can both do.”

The Grimsby man suffered multiple broken vertebrae in the 2015 crash and a broken sternum.

Arguably the best rider never to win around the Mountain Course, boasting 15 TT podiums, there were serious doubts whether the 35-year-old would ever return to the Isle of Man after missing last year as he took on the challenge of the gruelling 2,712-mile Tour Divide mountain bike race.

Martin has enjoyed huge success on the roads during his career securing wins at various races including the Ulster GP, Scarborough Gold Cup, Armoy, Cookstown and also the Southern 100.

McGuinness celebrated his 20th year on the Isle of Man last year, two third places taking his number of podiums to 46.

“John is part of the furniture really, but it’s great to have him back with us for another year – it wouldn’t be the same without him,” said Neil Tuxworth, team manager.

“I really feel with Guy and John, and of course the new Fireblade, that we have a strong team ready to tackle the roads this year.

“Guy is hungry for his first TT win and John wants another and his lap record back.”