Honda TT Legends star John McGuinness marked his return to the Relentless International North West 200 after a year's absence with a sensational victory in the first Superbike race.

McGuinness, who missed the meeting a year ago to compete in a round of the Endurance World Championship, sealed a popular triumph on the CBR1000RR Fireblade to set himself up perfectly for next month's Isle of Man TT races.

The 40-year-old from Morecambe capitalised on a mistake by race favourite and pole-sitter Alastair Seeley, who ran wide at Church Corner on the second lap of six while holding a lead of over two seconds.

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McGuinness took over and streaked away to established a commanding lead and although Seeley regrouped and powered his way through the field to apply some pressure on the final lap, it was 17-times Isle of Man TT winner McGuinness who took the chequered flag, with Cameron Donald on Wilson Craig's Honda snatching the final rostrum spot with a determined effort on the final lap.

McGuinness, who now has three Superbike wins to his name at the North West, said: "My last win was the last time I was here when I won the Superbike race in 2010. It's a great result for the Legends team and it's the first time I brought the bike here in the Legends colours.

"The bike was fantastic and it might not be the fastest, but it's reliable and it's the best package out there.

"It sets me up for next week going to the Isle of Man and I really enjoyed the race out there.

"Alastair may have been a bit faster than me but you've got to get to the chequered flag first."

Seeley rued his costly error on lap two, which he the British Superbike contender felt cost him victory on the 8.9-mile Triangle course.

"I hit a neutral and when I dropped it back into gear it upset the bike and I couldn't get stopped," he explained.

"I got it turned around but I hit another neutral at Juniper Hill and I said 'right, just smooth it all out' and I decided just to try and finish wherever I finished," Seeley said.

"I can be disappointed with a podium."

Aussie Donald was a man on a mission on the final lap and passed both KMR Kawasaki's Ryan Farquhar and Michael Rutter on the MSS Bathams Kawasaki to secure the final podium place on Craig's Honda.

Rutter passed Farquhar for fourth, with Kiwi Bruce Anstey completing the leading six.

Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin's crash in the first Supersport race ruled him out of the remainder of the action after he suffered a minor knock on the head.

Ian Hutchinson finished in 13th position on the Swan Yamaha R1 on his return to the North West following injury.