John McGuinness in positive mood after strong showing at North West 200

John McGuinness declared himself happy with his week's performances at the North West 200 having been in the thick of the action in all of his races.

Monday, 16th May 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2016, 10:05 am
John McGuinness on the grid at the North West 200.

The Morecambe Missile’s best result was sixth in Saturday’s Superbike race as the build-up continued to this year’s Isle of Man TT.

McGuinness, who also finished eighth in the two Supersport races, said: “It’s been a solid week for me and I’ve made some good steps forward with both bikes, especially the Superbike.

“It’s essentially the bike I rode in 2008 but we’ve got some new bodywork and have made a few little tweaks here and there and I went through the speed trap at 204mph!

John McGuinness in action at the North West 200.

“We’re definitely in the ball park and my sixth place was very reminiscent of my ride in last year’s race; it was an extremely competitive sixth and I was right with the group battling for second.

“The little 600 was faultless all week and whilst I was a little bit disappointed with a brace of eighths, the few changes we made to the bike, particularly with the gearing, for Saturday’s race didn’t quite work as I would have liked.

“I was very competitive in all of my races so there’s plenty of encouragement and confidence to take to the TT.”

Having his first race outing on UK shores this year, the 44-year old was riding as well as ever during qualifying and with perfect conditions all week on the Causeway Coast, he was well to the fore in both the Superbike and Supersport classes.

John McGuinness in action at the North West 200.

It was the latter where he qualified the best, taking fifth on the Jackson Racing Honda with eighth overall the outcome on the Honda Racing Superbike.

Thursday evening’s Supersport race got proceedings underway and having completed the opening lap in eighth place, he found himself locked in battle with fellow veteran Michael Rutter during the course of the six laps.

Despite briefly dropping back to 10th, he fought all the way to the end to finish eighth.

Saturday again saw ideal weather all around the 8.9-mile circuit with the second Supersport race the first to come under starter’s orders.

Again, McGuinness ran with the front group for the six laps and again eighth was the end result.

Next up for the resort racer was the Superbike where he was back on board his regular Honda Fireblade and he made a great getaway from his third row starting position only to be boxed in as the riders swept through Primrose Corner.

Ninth at the end of the first lap, he had plenty of work to do but he dug deep and with the fourth fastest lap of the race, 122.022mph, he was up to sixth with two laps remaining.

Just 1.5 seconds adrift of second place all hopes of a podium position disappeared though when the race was stopped on the fifth lap leaving him placed in sixth.

The final Superbike race on the programme was cancelled after a crash in the Supertwin race tragically claimed the life of Malachi Mitchell-Thomas.