John McGuinness to lead away stellar Isle of Man TT field
Morecambe's Isle of Man TT great John McGuinness will again lead the field away in this year's Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races.
The Honda Racing rider will have the number one plate, the 23-time race winner on the island having re-established himself as the ‘King of the Mountain’ with last year’s stunning PokerStars Senior TT victory and new outright lap record of 132.701mph (17:03.567).
With the top 20 seeded riders all having lapped comfortably over 127mph, it’s the fastest top-end field ever assembled at the iconic festival of racing.
Arguably the biggest surprise is the rider at number two - Bruce Anstey. With the exception of 2010, when he started at number one, the Kiwi has had the number five plate every year since 2004.
James Hillier, one of last year’s stars, moves back a place to number three on the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki, while there’s also change at four with last year’s triple race winner Ian Hutchinson moving up the order from his 2015 starting position.
Ten seconds behind him is another of last year’s revelations and another potential race winner in the shape of Peter Hickman. The eighth fastest rider of all time will line up on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and has the ideal target in front of him in Hutchinson although he could well be occupied with the rider starting behind him – Michael Dunlop.
After a problematical 2015 TT campaign, Dunlop is back at the start number that saw him claim a hat-trick of 1000cc wins in both 2013 and 2014 and he will be hoping that it proves to be a lucky six.
Previous two-time Supersport TT Race winner Gary Johnson will again have the number seven plate, this time on the Penz13.com BMW, and will be followed down Glencrutchery Road by William Dunlop (CD Racing Yamaha) and the evergreen Michael Rutter (Bathams/SMT Racing BMW).
As in previous years McGuinness’ team mate, Manxman Conor Cummins, completes the top 10 on the second Honda Racing machine.
As well as triumphing in the Senior TT in 2015, the Morecambe Missile won the electric SES TT Zero race.
Mugen have unveiled the new ‘SHINDEN Go’ machine for 2016 with McGuinness looking to improve on his lap record last year of 119.279mph (18’ 58.743).
Bruce Anstey will also again represent Mugen as the team attempts to win the race for a third successive year.
Major changes made to the machine include the battery system, motor and the frame which have all been newly-developed based on knowledge gained through the races over the past four years.
Alongside the improved output of the power systems, battery and motor, the cooling system has also been improved in order to access and harness the increased power.
A monocoque type frame has been chosen for optimum lightness and stiffness, and to improve the aerodynamics, while at the same time permitting the battery to be positioned inside the frame.
Cross link rocker rear suspension, designed and manufactured by M-Tec, has been introduced to make space for the huge battery, helping to improve the machine’s responsiveness.
This year’s festival gets underway on May 28.