John McGuinness admits he faces a long road back after his serious crash at the North West 200.
The Morecambe Missile is out of this year’s Isle of Man TT after breaking four vertebrae, three ribs and fracturing his lower right leg in the horror smash in Northern Ireland.
The 23-time winner around the Mountain Course, second on the all-time list, took to Twitter on Tuesday as he spoke for the first time since the accident.
“Only just really had the strength to look, but me and my family have been absolutely overwhelmed with the support we have been getting from the fans over the last few days,” said the 45-year-old.
“Biking people you are the best in the world!
“It’s going to be a long road to recovery. Sorry to let everybody down.”
McGuinness will have to wear a cast for the next six weeks to help his back recover meaning he will not get the chance to close in on Joey Dunlop’s TT record, the festival of racing getting underway with the first practice session on Saturday, May 27.
The Honda Racing rider came off at Primrose Hill during last Thursday’s Superbike qualifying, the initial diagnosis a suspected broken leg.
His team released a statement however confirming the full extent of his injuries.
“John has been diagnosed with a compound fracture to his right lower leg,” it read.
“While in theatre on Thursday night it was not possible to plate the leg as initially thought due to the extent of the injury, and an external fixator will be fitted.
“In addition, John has also suffered four broken vertebrae and has three broken back ribs, John will wear a cast for up to six weeks in treatment for the vertebrae.”
The team, which also includes Guy Martin, immediately withdrew from the North West 200 and will next be back on track at Castle Combe in a couple of weeks ahead of the TT.
The organisers of the North West 200 wished McGuinness a speedy recovery.
They said in a statement: “John has competed at the North West 200 since 1994 and is one of road racing’s greatest ambassadors.
“We would like to offer him a very speedy recovery from his injuries.”