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TT 2012: McGuinness makes it 18 wins with Superbike laurels

Honda Legends' John McGuinness swept to a majestic victory in the opening Isle of Man TT Superbike race this lunchtime and increased his tally to 18 career wins on Mona's Isle with a new race record of 1hr 46m.306s

Going off first, the Morecambe man was headed only once in the whole six-lap race when Cameron Donald led at the Bungalow on lap one but the pair's positions were reversed at the Grandstand and they held station to repeat the result at this time last year with Donald doing his first ever official 130mph lap.

“This feels pretty special. I’ve won a few around here in the past and, to be honest, I never know what to say and going off at number one again, it was just me, the track and the stopwatch. There were a lot of leaves on the track first thing and a bit of mist swirling around over the Mountain so I was a bit tentative on the first lap, just feeling my way into the race. After that though, conditions were good and I felt strong everywhere, so I just read my boards once I’d got the lead," said McGuinness.


“Cameron was really on it to begin with it but, after two fantastic pit stops, I had a real good go on laps three and five, hitting all my apexes and concentrating really hard. There was a big crowd out there and I got a bit emotional when I went through the Creg on the last lap as it reminded me of how I used to wave at Joey all those years ago! I've had a good start to the season, getting in plenty of races and there's no substitute for track time. I'm not getting any younger but I'm really happy with everything at the moment and am enjoying my racing as much as ever. I've got to say a big thank you to all my team and family - I've got a great group of people behind me and to be sitting here with 18 wins is just incredible."

McGuinness led into Glen Helen on lap one with Donald and Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin giving chase. James Hiller came through in fourth with Michael Rutter in fifth place. Donald had reduced the gap to 0.16s at Ballaugh while Martin was also closing in and Gary Johnson took fifth place.

At Ramsey, the gap was back to 0.35s and Donald had put his Wilson Craig Honda into the lead at the Bungalow which he kept to the Grandstand. Simon Andrews crashed at Graham's on lap one and was taken to hospital conscious but with shoulder injuries while Rutter retired at the pits.

At Glen Helen on lap two, McGuinness was back in charge but only by 0.20s while Martin had crept closer and was less than a second behind the Honda man while Johnson and Anstey made fourth and fifth their own. McGuinness then got the hammer down and steadily increased his lead on Donald and it was up to two seconds as they came into the pits for the first time while Anstey moved ahead of Johnson's Lincs Lifting Honda

Lap three saw McGuinness leave the pits with a six-second lead over Donald while Anstey's bike wouldn't fire and Johnson took advantage at Glen Helen, going past Anstey for fourth but the pair were already 40s behind the leaders. At Ballaugh, McGuinness was the best part of four seconds ahead and then six seconds as they reached the Bungalow.

Ballaugh on lap four saw McGuinness with a seven second advantage while Martin began to slip into the clutches of Anstey, who went in front of Johnson on lap three. As they pitted, McGuinness was ten seconds in front of Donald with a 130.483mph lap and then controlled the race from the front to take the win.

Anstey, meanwhile, was neck-and-neck with Martin as they got to Ramsey on lap five. Both were a minute in arrears but on the run up to the Bungalow, the Kiwi was past the Lincolnshire man for third. Anstey eventually caught Martin on the road but lost top gear so followed Martin to the finish line.

Johnson took fifth place just ahead of William Dunlop, who just got faster and faster as the race went on, passing Hiller at half-distance. The Bournemouth Kawasaki man held on to seventh place with Swan Yamaha's Ian Hutchinson in eighth.

Dean Harrison, in only his second year on the island, took ninth place ahead of Michael Dunlop who was forced to go out on his Superstock bike due to mechanical problems. Manxman Dan Kneen was 11th, Steve Mercer 12th and Dan Stewart 13th. National Superstock 1000 front-runner David Johnson took 14th with Davy Morgan completing the top 15.

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