McGuinness gets Isle of Man TT campaign underway

John McGuinness at Union Mills during Monday evening TT practice.
John McGuinness at Union Mills during Monday evening TT practice.

John McGuinness’ 17th Isle of Man TT campaign got underway in steady fashion on Saturday as he escorted a number of newcomers around on their speed-controlled lap.

The Morecambe Missile was then left frustrated as heavy rain, strong winds and cool temperatures hit the island on Monday.

As a result, only the Superstock and Supersport machines took to the 37 and ¾-mile course for an hour-long untimed session.

McGuinness took to the Mountain Course on the 1000cc HM Plant/Padgetts Honda alongside fellow Honda rider Michael Rutter.

Damp patches existed around the course whilst swirling mist also meant visibility wasn’t ideal but the TT Legend completed two laps.

The 19-times winner said: “It’s been a bit of a slow start to the TT compared to what I’m used to and we’re all chomping at the bit now to get out on the Superbike but there’s nothing we can do about the weather and at least I’ve managed a few laps on the Superstock machine.

“I just want to get some dry track time now and start building everything up.

“Monday’s session was just a sighting session really so I just took it steady and had a run round.

“At the same time though, I got two laps in on the Stocker and it was good to blow the cobwebs away although I’ve never known so many stones around the course.

“We just need to get some dry weather now and TT 2013 will be properly up and running for everyone.”

Sadly, Monday’s practice session was marred by an incident at Ballacrye which claimed the life of Yoshinari Matsushita and John would like to pass on his deepest condolences to all of the family and friends of the Japanese rider.

The 43-year-old Tyco Suzuki rider, who had only entered the race earlier in the day, is the 21st rider to die at the festival since 2000.

Clerk of the course Gary Thompson MBE said: “Yoshi was a really popular competitor who had a large number of friends in the TT Races paddock.

“He was a genuine and friendly character who always had time for everyone.

“He will be sorely missed.”

Practice and qualifying at the festival continues throughout the week with racing getting properly underway with the six-lap Dainese Superbike race this Saturday, June 1.

The racing ends with the flagship Pokerstars Senior TT on Friday, June 7.