In what could be the ultimate master and apprentice team pairing, 23 TT winner John McGuinness is paired with four-time NW200 winner, BSB winner but TT newcomer Glenn Irwin. Both riding the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, the move see McGuinness back on a Honda after a four-year gap. It’s fitting, with Honda’s 30th anniversary of the Fireblade, which itself celebrates mechanical and visual updates for 2022, and McGuinness celebrating 100 starts.
What can I say really, it’s like coming back home to the family! I’ve been in talks for a while with Neil and Harv and it’s just something that feels right; it’s the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade, I’ll be 50 years old and also celebrating my 100th TT start, so it feels like it’s meant to be. I’ve enjoyed a lot of success on the roads with the Honda and worked with Harv back in the day with HM Plant Honda, so I’m looking forward to getting back into the set-up and getting going. I had a little go on the Fireblade earlier this year and was impressed with it on-track, so looking forward to getting on the roads and seeing how it goes. It’s going to be a special year with everything going on and also just getting back to the North West 200 and the TT and everyone racing there again – I can’t wait to get stuck in!John McGuinness
After waiting two years for his TT debut, Glenn has been working away in the BSB championship on the Honda Fireblade since joining in 2020. In both Glenn’s and the new blades debut season together, the pair lead for most of the season, notching a win, five podiums and a final finish of fourth. No stranger to the roads, Glenn entered the North West 200 yearly since 2015, plus the Ulster GP.
Finally, I’ll be making my long-awaited TT debut with Honda! We’re now more familiar with the new Fireblade and the team is more familiar; I like to have home comforts as such and continuing with the bike and the same team I think puts us in a better position with frame of mind. We still have no targets set and no expectations for the Isle of Man TT, we’re going there to learn and enjoy. It’s incredible to have someone like John as my teammate on the roads, he’s someone I have looked up to and is probably the second greatest TT rider after another Honda-man Joey! To have that opportunity to be able to learn off him, and able to be part of the team, see everything first-hand and to learn off him experiencing the ‘McGuinness-factor’ is something I am really excited about! On the flip side, we go to the North West 200 where we can work together and I think we can realistically set targets there – I would love to achieve Honda’s first international road race win on the new Fireblade at the NW200 and add to my Superbike wins there. We’re fully aware we’ve not been there in a few years, but like everyone else, we’ll go, and we’ll do our homework. For sure the Honda team are the best to go road racing with, and BSB, and hopefully we can find out feet during practice and if we’re feeling confident look towards adding to the NW200 wins.Glenn Irwin
The pairing will compete in both Superbike and Superstock classes, at the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT. The North West 200 runs 10-14th May and the Isle of Man TT runs 28th May to 11th June 2022.
I’m really pleased we’ve been able to work with John on a deal for 2022, it’s going to be an exciting season for us all with the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade and John’s 100th TT start, and for him to do this back with Honda just made complete sense. Honda has so much history with John at the TT and 12 of the 20 wins for the CBR1000RR Fireblade have been with him, so for us all this is very much a homecoming. We also have Glenn, who will finally make his debut at the TT, which has been a long time coming, but we’re all really excited for this and to see how he gets on. There’s absolutely no pressure on Glenn, it’s about learning and finding his way at the TT, and with John’s experience, I don’t think he could ask for a better teammate to learn from. From a Honda point of view, this will be Honda UK’s first time back at both the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT races since 2010, so we’re all excited to get back on the roads with the new Fireblade.Havier Beltran – Team manager Honda Racing UK
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