John McGuinness got his 2015 Isle of Man TT races campaign underway on Sunday afternoon when he placed a strong fourth in the opening Superbike race on the Honda Racing machine.
The Morecambe Missile had been second quickest in a truncated practice week and knew strong challenges would be coming from fellow Honda rider Bruce Anstey and Ian Hutchinson but it was James Hillier who set the early pace.
Indeed, despite lapping in excess of 130mph on his opening lap, John found himself back in fifth place, seven seconds behind new race leader Hutchinson. Hillier had caught John on the road on lap two and they circulated together for the next few laps as the top five positions remained the same.
John put in another 130mph lap on lap four and next time around he’d edged ahead of Hillier on the road and began to try and cut back the gap on corrected time.
Try as he might though, he couldn’t pull away enough but with Michael Dunlop crashing out less than a mile from the finish after tangling with a slower rider. John crossed the line in fourth place for yet another silver replica.
John McGuinness: “I’m a little bit disappointed with fourth place as I felt I rode pretty well but that’s the TT for you now – it’s so hard and so competitive and TT wins and podiums don’t get given out in Christmas crackers.
“I lost my tear-offs on the first lap and was a bit of a fly sweeper, but it’s no excuse.
“My first lap felt pretty good to be fair but James used me as a good target and caught me on the road pretty early whilst we didn’t quite have the quickest of pit stops – the wheel change was perfect but the fuel seemed to take an age to go, it was almost as if the filler was playing up.”
“In the last third of the race, I got back in front of James and tried to break away but then Bruce came by and with him having taken 40 seconds out of me, he was really on it.
“I kept plugging away and gave it my all until the end and I wasn’t that far off the podium but fair play to the front few riders. It’s good to see Bruce get a Superbike win at last and Hutchy back on the podium but I’ll be firmly aiming to be on there myself later this week.”
nMcGuinness was back in action on Monday evening in the Monster Energy Supersport race, earning a top eight finish.