John McGuinness came home third to pick up his 45th Isle of Man TT podium in this year’s history-making opening Superbike race.
The Morecambe Missile came in behind winner Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson in the fastever ever race on the Mountain Course on Saturday.
Both Dunlop and Hutchinson were inside McGuinness’ 10-year-old lap record with the former’s race-winning time 1m15.643s inside the old race record after six blistering laps.
Honda Racing’s McGuinness said: “My lap record is gone but hey it was always going to go; I’ve had it for 10 years so I’m not disappointed.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve done on the Honda today.
“It’s another podium finish and I’m in some good company with Michael and Hutchy – there’s no disgrace in coming third behind those boys as they were really flying today.”
Having lapped at more than 131mph during practice week, McGuinness had an unusually sluggish start to the race and found himself back in seventh at Glen Helen on the opening lap.
However, by the end of the first 37 and ¾ miles, the 44-year-old had fought his way up to fifth.
Getting into his stride all the time, a substantially quicker lap second time around of 131.451mph elevated him up to fourth as he closed in on third-placed man Dean Harrison.
Indeed, with his customary quick pit-stop, he took control of third place and the final podium position on the third lap.
Circulating on the road with Dunlop and Hutchinson, McGuinness lapped quicker still on his fourth lap – 131.538mph – to pull away from Harrison and strengthen his hold on the position, ultimately crossing the line 17 seconds clear of new fourth place man Peter Hickman.
McGuinness: “I was way off the pace at Glen Helen on the opening lap and when I saw ‘P7’ on my board, I couldn’t believe it as it felt like a good sector – and when Hutchy came by me on the second lap, I started to think I might have to hang my boots up there and then!
“It woke me up though and I pushed hard again, eventually moving up to third after yet another brilliant pit stop by the boys in the team.
“I got by him again at Bishopscourt and I’ve lapped quicker than I have done all week so I’ve got to be happy.
“It’s my 20th year at the TT and I’ve got my 45th podium so I can’t complain.”
The resort racer is back in action on Monday where he’ll be riding the Jackson Racing Honda in the Supersport race and the EMC2/Bet Victor Honda Fireblade in the Superstock race, both running over four laps of the Mountain Course.