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NW200: 'Nervous' McGuinness on provisional front row

15 May 2012

John McGuinness admits he was feeling slightly nervous ahead of the opening practice session at the Relentless International North West 200.

However, the 17-times Isle of Man rider needn't have worried as he quickly got to grips with the 8.9-mile public roads circuit in Northern Ireland after missing the event in 2011 due to a date clash with an Endurance World Championship round.

"It's been a really good first day. We were lucky with the weather as there was a heavy hailstorm just before the sessions started but it dried out pretty quick and we were able to do most of qualifying without any rain," said McGuinness.

"It started again just at the end of the last practice, but we got a good run in.

"I was a bit nervous heading out after missing the event last year, but as soon as I got out there all the years of riding here came flooding back and I really enjoyed it," he added.

"We're up there in second and competitive in the Superbike class so it's been a good day."

His team-mate, Simon Andrews, was 19th on the Honda Legends CBR1000RR.

Andrews is effectively a newcomer after his planned debut at the North West last year was thwarted when the event was cancelled with just one race held due to a series of setbacks including poor weather and an oil spill.

"I went out in the newcomers session this morning and struggled a bit with my leg but when I got back out in the Superbike practice the adrenalin got it sorted and I felt much better," he said.

"The bike was handling really well and I just wanted to stay out and spend as much time as possible getting to know the circuit.

"I pulled in towards the end for some small adjustments to the set-up and after that it felt even better.

"I'm happy enough and hopefully the weather will stay dry for the next session on Thursday."

Final qualifying will be held on Thursday.


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