McGuinness and team-mate Glenn Irwin will be giving the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade its road racing debut at the North West after the north coast showpiece and Isle of Man TT were both cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Morecambe man McGuinness made his debut around the 8.9-mile ‘Triangle’ course back in 1994 but says he remains as enthusiastic as ever to race at the event.
A six-time winner, McGuinness – who turned 50 last month – will ride in the Superbike and Superstock races and also competes in the Supersport class on the SMT/Blue Earth Construction Honda.
“I’m super excited for this week and getting back to the North West 200 after a few years away,” said McGuinness.
“My first year was ’94 which was 28 years ago and the excitement is still the same now, and being back with Honda it’s like putting on an old pair of slippers.
“The Fireblade is great, pre-season testing has gone well and I’m in a good place. My team-mate Glenn is the hot-shot at the NW200, so if we can get anywhere near him, we’ll be going alright.
“Win, lose or draw I’m looking forward to the races, it’s great to have everyone back together on the road racing scene, and I hope everyone has a good, safe and successful North West.”
McGuinness is set to make his 100th race start at the TT next month as the Honda Fireblade celebrates its 30th anniversary.
He has been competing in the National Superstock 1000 Championship this season as part of his preparations for the roads and also took part in a recent test at Castle Combe.
A 23-time TT winner, McGuinness is the second most successful rider ever in the history of the event behind legendary Ulsterman Joey Dunlop, whose record of 26 victories still stands almost 22 years on from his tragic death in a racing accident in Estonia.
First practice takes place on Tuesday, with roads closed from 9.15am to 3.15pm.