Guy Martin delivered a scathing assessment of his disastrous Isle of Man TT comeback with Honda Racing in the post-TT Zero press conference.
Martin’s return to the major international road races in 2017 on the new Fireblade SP2 was announced by Honda amidst a blaze of unprecedented publicity in January, with his partnership with 23-time TT winner John McGuinness billed as Honda’s dream team.
Almost six months on, that dream has become little more than a nightmare.
McGuinness was ruled out of the TT after a crash in qualifying at the North West 200. The Morecambe man felt his Superbike didn’t slow when he rolled the throttle on the approach to Primrose Corner. He suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and will miss the remainder of the season.
Honda withdrew from the Superbike and Superstock races at the North West on safety grounds, unable to rule out a technical issue with the CBR1000RR.
A test was held at Castle Combe prior to the TT and the team is understood to have switched to the Motec electronics system run by Honda’s BSB riders, ditching the kit system.
Disaster was narrowly averted when Martin was fortunate to escape a massive crash at the fast fourth-gear Doran’s Bend on the opening lap of the RST Superbike race.
A false neutral was declared the cause of the crash and a visibly shook up Martin had the demeanour of a man who had knew the outcome could have been very different.
While Honda put a brave face on things, Martin was less keen to toe the party line.
Rumours began to circulate over whether or not he would ride the Honda in the blue riband Senior race and in a dramatic announcement on Friday morning, the news came that the Lincolnshire rider had decided to pull out.
The official team statement said a lack of set-up time was the reason.
Martin did compete in the TT Zero race for Mugen, finishing as the runner-up behind Bruce Anstey.
In a revealing post-race press conference, Martin’s misgivings over the new Honda in its current guise were all too plain to see.
It was a high-risk strategy by Honda to sign such an ungovernable non-conformist and the trade off for unparalleled publicity has backfired spectacularly.
“We’ve had a bit of an – well I don’t know what the right word is, I don’t want to get my ear chewed. But we’ve had a bit of an interesting week,” Martin said.
“With what has gone on this week, I’m sick to the back teeth with it to be honest. The only good thing I can drag out of it is the whole Mugen thing. I ask myself why am I doing it and then I say, ‘well I’m on a Mugen’, and that’s a good reason for doing it.
“If I get the chance to come back on the Mugen then yeah, but for owt else then I think I need to have a bit of a rethink.
“The TT’s great, but you can never forget that it is only a motorbike race.”
Asked if he has committed to the Southern 100 next month, Martin said: “I need to twist George’s [Peach, Race Secretary] arm and see if he’ll let me enter my turbo bike!”
Pressed on whether he would ride the Honda SP2, Martin added: “Oh come on, you’re getting political now! Hopefully we’ll be out on the Honda – if not then we’ll take something out of the shed.”