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NW200: Superbike success perfect TT setup for McGuinness

Morecambe's John McGuinness enjoyed another successful trip to the International North West 200 road races this week when he swept to victory in Saturday's Superbike race. The Honda TT Legends rider came home over four seconds clear of Alastair Seeley and backed this up with a brace of thirds in the feature Superbike race and opening Supersport encounter. He also took fifth in the second Superstock and Supersport races on the Padgetts Honda's.

Having qualified on the front row for all three of his classes - Superbike, Supersport and Superstock - the week didn't get off to the greatest of starts for John with 15th in Thursday's wet Superstock race but with perfect weather on Saturday, he was back to his best. The day started well with a very strong third place in the opening Supersport race and although William Dunlop was away at the head of the field, John made Alastair Seeley work all race for second place. At the chequered flag, John was only a second behind the Suzuki rider and a podium was a great result for John and the Padgetts team.

Next up was the opening Superbike race and having grabbed the holeshot, John and Seeley soon opened up a gap over the rest of the field. Seeley went into the lead towards the end of lap one but when he overshot Church Corner a lap later, John happily accepted the lead and with his advantage over second place as high as ten seconds at one stage, he was able to ride to his signals and control the race from the front. Comfortable in the lead on the Honda TT Legends machine, he was able to ease off in the final laps and claim another great win, his 6th around the 8.9-mile circuit.


Two more excellent rides followed in the second Superstock and Supersport races and John brought the Padgetts machines home in fifth on each occasion, the Superstock result in particular a great effort and only half a second adrift of the final podium place. That left the feature Superbike race as John's final race of the weekend and another superb start saw him lead the way on the opening lap. Local favourite Seeley wasn't to be denied though and although there was only a second between them at half race distance, he edged away and John had a battle to keep Michael Rutter behind him for second. He squeezed by though on the fifth lap and so John had to settle for third for his third podium of the day.

Speaking later, a delighted John said, "What can I say, it's been a great day for me and, apart from the wet race on Thursday evening, I've finished every race inside the top 5. To take my 6th win here, and another on the Superbike, was especially pleasing and although Alastair had a bit more pace than me, it's all about getting past the chequered flag first and that's what I did. The bike was fantastic and when I saw '+10' on my pitboard I knew that all I had to do was bring the bike home - if someone could take that amount of time out of me in the final two laps, I think I'd have to hang my leathers up!

"I tried as hard as I could in the second Superbike race but Alastair and Michael just had that bit extra and I had to settle for third. If someone had offered me a win and a third in the Superbike races before I came here I'd have readily taken them so I'm very happy. Likewise the Supersport races and the third place in the opening race was one of my best rides on a 600cc machine.

"Alastair's a lot smaller than me so more suited to the Supersport bikes but I kept him honest throughout and it was very satisfying to run at the same pace as him. I've throughly enjoyed my racing today and I'm really happy with how all of the bikes are performing so it's set me up nicely for the TT and I'm looking forward to getting over to the Island and giving it my best shot once more. I'd love to get another win there but what will be will be and I'll just look at doing my best and having a good, safe fortnight."

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