McGuinness set for NW after Honda test

John McGuinness and Conor Cummins at Castle Combe.
John McGuinness and Conor Cummins at Castle Combe.

John McGuinness is ready to unleash his Honda Racing Fireblade on the roads at this week’s Vauxhall International North West 200.

McGuinness and team-mate Conor Cummins participated in a two-day test at Castle Combe in Wiltshire last week, where they fine-tuned their Fireblade SP machines and tested different tyre compounds provided by Dunlop ahead of the first big international road race of 2016 on the north coast.

The 44-year-old, who set a new outright lap record of 132.701mph on his way to his 23rd TT win last year in the blue riband Senior race, said: “It has been a really solid test this week we had a few things to work through, which we managed and it’s all been really positive.

“It’s the same CBR I love and adore, but we can’t stand still as the competition is really strong so we have to make a few small changes here and there so we’re ready for the racing.

“I’m feeling great at the moment and I’ve been faster here than ever before, so I’m feeling really confident,” added McGuinness.

“I’ve got a great package with the team, the CBR and there’s no reason not to bring any trophies home from this year’s events.

“We’ve worked closely with Dunlop and they brought a new tyre for us to test, which was a massive step so I’m hugely confident in what they’re offering.

“I’m leaving here in a good place and can’t wait to get going now at the North West 200.”

Cummins, meanwhile, said he was feeling ‘quietly confident’ following the test as the Manx rider aims to return to the rostrum in the Superbike class at the North West and TT this year.

“I’ve really enjoyed the last two days and being back on the Fireblade again, it’s a great bike and always brings a smile to my face,” he said.

“We had quite a bit to work through over the test with different settings for the electronics, engine and also the suspension but I’m leaving here quietly confident with what we’ve achieved, and I just can’t wait to get racing now.

“I’m in a happy state of mind and confident in the package for this year; I’ve got a great team behind me and a fantastic machine, so I can’t ask for anymore,” Cummins added.

“We’ve also worked with Dunlop over the days and testing numerous tyre compounds and I am full of confidence with what they’re offering.”