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McGuinness: Dunlop 'unknown quantity' on Superbike

'It's going to be interesting because we don't know what we're going to get from him' - John McGuinness
Honda TT Legends star John McGuinness is unsure what to expect from his young team-mate Michael Dunlop in the Superbike and Senior races at this year's TT races.

Dunlop joins the 19-times winner on a factory Honda as he bids to add a victory in the premier class to his wins in the Supersport and Superstock events.

The 24-year-old finished as the runner-up in the 2010 Superbike race at the TT but with the Honda TT Legends team behind him this June, Dunlop has been handed his best chance ever of grabbing a coveted win in the blue riband class.

McGuinness remains the man to beat on the big bikes on the Mountain course but admits Dunlop is a bit of an unknown quantity on the Legends Fireblade.

“Michael Dunlop is fast and hungry and has already won three TTs, so he's three ahead of me already because I didn't make my debut until I was 25,” said McGuinness during the official launch of the 2013 TT races on the Isle of Man this week.

“I've had big team-mates in the past and I was team-mates with his uncle Joey. It's going to be interesting because we don't know what we're going to get from him.

“It's a really strong Honda team with Michael Rutter also involved as well and hopefully it will be a good race and everyone brings it back safe,” he added.

“The best man will win on the day.

“I never thought I'd be sitting with 19 wins, but I've had good bikes, good teams and a bit of luck.

“I still love racing at the TT and I've had big support from everyone throughout my career – my mum and dad, my wife and kids; we all love coming here.”

McGuinness has had a section of the TT course from Handley's to the top of the Barregarrow named in his honour as he follows in the footsteps of fellow TT legends like Giacomo Agostini and Joey Dunlop.

The 40-year-old said he felt 'humbled' by the honour.

“I welled up with emotion when I saw my board for McGuinness corner named after me.

“It will be there forever and I'm really humbled and honoured by it,” he said.

The corner will be simply known as 'McGuinness's'.

The Morecambe man also reflected on the possibility of breaking Joey Dunlop's all-time TT win haul of 26 successes and joked that he would 'never be able to set foot back in Ireland' if he managed the feat.

“If you'd have said to me when I was 25 and starting out at the TT that I'd have 19 wins I'd have taken that,” he said.

“It doesn't seem possible to be winning three TTs at the age of 48 but Joey did it.

“If I managed to get 26 wins it would be amazing, but the most amazing thing would be to achieve 26 wins and equal Joey's record with Joey there in the winners' enclosure to talk about it.”

McGuinness will carry the number three plate made famous by Joey at this year's TT.

He sets off behind Cameron Donald and James Hillier, who will lead the field on his Quattro Plant Kawasaki at number one.

Most of the leading TT names were represented at the media launch with the exception of Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Honda TT Legends rider John McGuinness at the official launch of the 2013 Isle of Man TT
Conor Cummins has joined the Padgetts Racing Honda team for 2017.
Lee Johnston has teamed up with Ryan Farquhar to race a KMR Kawasaki in the NI Air Ambulance colours at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Michael Dunlop, Carl Cox, [Credit: Holeshot PR]
Michael Dunlop has signed for Bennets Suzuki for the 2017 international road races.
Michael Dunlop has signed for the Bennett Suzuki team for 2017.
Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Guy Martin, Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Josh Brookes has signed to ride for Norton at the Isle of Man TT in 2017.
Dan Hegarty won the TT Privateers Championship in 2016.
Peter Hickman will ride for Smiths Racing in 2017 at the international road races and in the British Superbike Championship.
Michael Rutter on the Bathams/SMT BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.
Martin Jessopp on the Riders Motorcycles BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.
Michael Rutter and John McGuinness during the pre-event press conference ahead of the 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Michael Rutter topped the opening practice session for the 2016 Macau Grand Prix.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 during the Classic Superbike race at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.

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