John McGuinness has linked up with another Isle of Man TT great ahead of his return to the iconic festival of racing this year.
The Morecambe Missile has signed up to ride for Michael Dunlop’s MD Racing team in the two Supersport races.
It comes on the back of the 45-year-old announcing deals with Norton for the Superbike and Senior TTs and Ryan Farquhar’s KMR/IEG Kawasaki team for the Bennetts Lightweight TT.
McGuinness will be making his return to the Isle of Man after missing last year’s event due to the injuries he sustained at the North West 200 in May last year.
“I’m excited to be riding Michael’s bike at this year’s TT,” he said.
“It’s started off as a bit of a joke conversation between us both and has developed into him going off and building me a bike.
“I’m a big fan of Michael’s both as a rider but also for what he has done in terms of running his own teams and winning races out the back of his van against the factory teams over the years.
“The Dunlop name means so much to TT fans and as a fan myself, I can’t wait to represent that name at this year’s event.
“We’ve won 38 TT’s between us so together we know what needs to be done and I am sure we will be right at the sharp end.”
Both the resort racer and Dunlop have an excellent track record in the 600cc class with the Northern Irishman winning last year’s four-lap race when Yamaha-mounted while McGuinness was victorious in both 2005 and 2006 for Yamaha and Honda respectively.
Riding for the latter exclusively since 2006, the Morecambe man added further Supersport podiums to his haul in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013.
Since 2010 McGuinness has lined up in the colours of Padgetts Racing and, more recently the Jackson Racing team, finishing in the top five on no less than eight occasions with his most recent outing in 2016 seeing him finish fifth.
His fastest lap in the Supersport category, 127.210mph, came in 2013 when he made his last visit to the podium in the class which makes him the fifth fastest rider ever to have lapped the Mountain Course on a 600cc machine.
Dunlop said: “I hadn’t ever really planned on building another bike, but when John started talking to me about it, I thought it was a great idea and I couldn’t really say no.
“It’s good for me, it’s good for my team and no matter who you are, the man has won 23 TT races so there is always going to be something that can be learnt by having him in working alongside you.
“People don’t see him as a 600cc rider, but he’s won races and had lots of podium finishes on a 600cc bike and I will give him a bike capable of winning on.”
This year’s TT gets underway on May 26 with the Supersport races on June 4 and 6.