John McGuinness has confirmed his return to next year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 after finalising terms with event director Mervyn Whyte at the Macau Grand Prix.
A winner on the Honda TT Legends Superbike on the North Coast in May, McGuinness is the first major name officially signed by the organisers for the 2013 showpiece, which takes place from May 12-18.
The 19-times Isle of Man TT winner is expected to remain in the red, white and blue livery of the official Honda team next season, with exciting details regarding his team-mates due to be confirmed at the Motorcycle Live Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Austria’s Horst Saiger, who made his debut at the NW200 this year, will make his second appearance at the event next May.
Saiger qualified fifth for the 46th running of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, where Michael Rutter secured pole position on the SMT Honda in his bid for an incredible eighth victory.
McGuinness, also riding for Robin Croft’s SMT Honda outfit at Macau, was second quickest, just two tenths of a second down on Rutter, with Martin Jessopp on the Riders Ducati completing the front row in third.
The final qualifying outing began late after a fatal accident in the Macau Touring Car Cup practice session, which casts a further cloud over the meeting following Portuguese competitor Luis Carreira’s tragic accident on Thursday.
Mr Carreira previously competed for Northern Ireland’s CD Racing team at the North West 200 and TT.
Gary Johnson on the Quattro Plant Honda was fourth fastest followed by Conor Cummins (Tyco Suzuki), Saiger (Saiger Racing Kawasaki) and Simon Andrews on the Ice Valley BMW.