Isle of Man TT great John McGuinness admitted he took a great deal of satisfaction in silencing those critics who felt his best days were behind him after official confirmation on Sunday that he has re-signed with Honda Racing for 2016.
There was never any real doubt that the Morecambe Missile wouldn’t remain in the Neil Tuxworth-run team for another year after McGuinness reclaimed the prestigious Senior TT trophy with a vintage performance on the Mountain Course in June, when the 43-year-old set an incredible new outright lap record of 132.701mph on his way to a commanding victory by 14 seconds from James Hillier.
It was the popular English rider’s seventh victory in the showpiece Senior race and puts him level with Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood, with the pair lifting the legendary trophy more times than anyone else in the history of the event.
McGuinness also won the TT Zero race on the Japanese Mugen machine and now has 23 victories in total, leaving him only three behind the all-time record held by Ulster sporting icon Joey Dunlop.
His masterful display in the shortened four-lap Senior, reduced in laps after Jamie Hamilton’s serious crash, reaffirmed McGuinness as the King of the Mountain after he battled back to the pinnacle of road racing following an injury-hit 2014.
“[Last year] was a tough year for me so coming into 2015 I was determined to get my confidence back and show that there was still life in the old dog,” said McGuinness, who was unveiled as Honda Racing’s two-man team with Manxman Conor Cummins at the Motorcycle Live Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
“I think I proved that in the Senior TT and managed to silence some critics who thought that my career was over.
“Smashing the lap record was the best feeling, but I know that there’s some great competition out there who are looking to take that from me.
“I’m confident in the Fireblade and also myself, I know I have a good package to get back out there next year and do it again,” he added.
“The Honda team is like a family to me and the continued support means everything.”
McGuinness and Ramsey man Cummins, who is entering a third successive season with Honda, will compete in the Superbike class at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT on the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, with Cummins also committed to the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod in August.
Both riders are also scheduled to return to the Macau Grand Prix later in the year, where McGuinness and Cummins finished fourth and seventh respectively in November.
Cummins, who joined McGuinness on the main stage at Motorcycle Live for the official announcement, said: “2015 was a mixed season for me, I didn’t really get the results I wanted at the North West or the TT but it all came together at the Ulster and leaving with two second-places was great.
“The Fireblade is a great machine and I’m so happy to be back with Honda Racing again for now my third year.
“I feel like 2016 could be my year,” he added. “I have two-years experience with the CBR now under my belt and looking forward to seeing what the season brings.”
In addition to their commitments with the official Honda Racing squad, McGuinness and Cummins will ride for the privately-run Jackson Racing team in the Supersport races and are also set to contest the 2016 Endurance World Championship in the Superstock class.
Cummins will also ride a Honda Superstock machine for Jackson Racing at the international road races.