An astonishing war of words has erupted between road racing superpowers
Guy Martin and Ian Hutchinson before a wheel has turned this season.
Hutchinson dominated the 2010 road racing campaign with an incredible haul of international victories which included an historic fives wins at the Isle of Man TT, when he became the first rider ever to win every solo event during race week.
The Yorkshireman, who has battled back from a career-threatening injury to take his place in Shaun Muir's Swan Yamaha team for 2012, has amassed eight wins on the Mountain Course, while newly confirmed Tyco TAS Suzuki signing Guy Martin is still chasing his debut win at the TT.
But Martin has dismissed the threat posed by Hutchinson at the TT, claiming he got lucky in 2010 primarily because 17-times winner John McGuinness failed to finish either the Superbike or Senior races.
He pointed out that he himself has never been beaten by the Bingley rider at the TT in the Superbike class, except in 2010 when Martin picked up a 30 second time penalty for speeding in pit lane and has rubbished Hutchinson's chances of success in the British Superbike Championship.
In response, Hutchinson - who finished third on his racing comeback at the Macau Grand Prix last November - took a swipe at Martin's failure to achieve his ambition of winning a race at the Isle of Man TT.
Writing on his official Twitter account, he said: 'Been a long day today polishing my TT trophies - should get them all done by tonight,' before adding in a separate Tweet, 'Had the easiest gym session ever today after reading Guy's thoughts on me. Keep shovelling the coal on, not that it's needed - 8-0.' [In reference to his tally of TT wins in comparison to Martin's.]
Hutchinson also claimed he had 'bigger fish to fry' than Martin this season as the verbal sparring between the pair continued.
The very public exchange of words will ramp up the intensity of their rivalry as the countdown to the first international road race of the year, the North West 200 on May 19, continues.
And while both will no doubt be eager to draw first blood at the seaside meeting on the north coast, it will be at the TT where the talking will stop and the results will speak for themselves.