Honda Racing UK rounds out practice week in good form

After a week of practice at this year’s Isle of Man TT Races, Honda Racing UK and riders Dean Harrison, John McGuinness MBE and Nathan Harrison now turn their attention to a great week of racing on the Mountain Course after building some solid foundations.

At times drenched in glorious sunshine and at others simply drenched, practice week was a disrupted affair with schedule changes and delays to contend with. Nonetheless, the team completed valuable laps during five qualifying sessions and a single untimed practice. At thirty-seven and three-quarter miles, this circuit always places a huge demand on both rider and machine. Hence, when dialling in a setup there is often no substitute for experience, which the team have in abundance. 

In Honda red for the first time at arguably the greatest road race on earth, Dean Harrison was in fine form throughout the week albeit not quite fully realising his and the bike's potential. A small technical problem in Wednesday’s qualifying session necessitated parking his superbike in Parliament Square and borrowing a fan’s CBR600RR to make the return journey back to the pits. Undeterred by all of the challenges however, he posted his quickest lap of practice on Friday evening with a 132.596 mph lap from a standing start on his superbike. He also posted a number of fast laps on his superstock and supersport bike throughout the week with an average speed of 131.293 mph and 124.94 mph his quickest in each class respectively. After the final qualifying session tomorrow he will race down the Glencrutchery road for the first time this year in the opening Monster Energy Supersport Race. 

McGuinness, returning to the island in what is his thirty-fourth year of racing, looked as sharp as he ever has during practice week. Right up there on the timing sheets throughout the week and nipping at the heels of the podium positions, he heads into race week with a spring in his step. He lapped at 130.745 mph on his superbike and put together an equally impressive 128.908 mph lap on his stock Fireblade to sit comfortably inside the top ten in both classes. John’s first race of the event will be the RST Superbike Race on Sunday. 

As he clicked first gear, cracked the throttle open and released the clutch on Monday afternoon, Nathan Harrison made his long-awaited Honda Racing UK debut at the Isle of Man TT. Building back into the event after a year away from the Island Course his speed improved incrementally throughout practice week. He rounded out the week with a quickest average lap time of 128.209 mph, the quickest that he has ever lapped the Mountain Course, ahead of his first race on Sunday. 

#5 Dean Harrison

Honestly, I think it has been a tough week with bike setup and bike time, obviously, we had a mechanical and things have been a bit disrupted with the schedule changes and cancellations. I’ve done a 132.5 mph lap from a standing start which isn’t too bad but I definitely feel like there is more to come from myself and from the bike thats for sure. We’re struggling a little bit with stability, but Chris and I have a few ideas to throw at it in tomorrow’s final qualifying session. I definitely think that if we can improve that then there is plenty more to come. We are only going to get stronger, and I’m looking forward to getting going tomorrow with the first race. 

#1 John McGuinness MBE

It’s been a solid week of practice to be fair, we’ve got plenty of laps in and I think we’re not too far away. I get a bit frustrated with the wind, if I’m honest it makes me a little nervous as I don’t like sticking my neck out when it’s unpredictable like that. So to do the lap time we have done in those conditions is good. I’ve been in the situation that many times before where there are disruptions and cancellations that it doesn’t really affect me. I have the experience, so if the race was tomorrow I’m ready to go. We’ve got a really nice balanced bike that is very competitive, I’m more or less on the pace of where we were running last year which means we’ve progressed and we are there or thereabouts. I’ll have a sit down tomorrow after I’ve digested the week and how things have gone before making a few changes and going from there. 

#25 Nathan Harrison

It’s been a good week of practice for me, I’ve taken my time and just focussed on building each time I go out. I’m just riding the bike and enjoying every minute of it, this place is all about not rushing things and that is exactly what I am doing. I’ve gone quicker than I’ve ever gone and I feel like it’s coming to me much easier. It’s been a bit stop-start with the disruptions and the conditions haven’t been ideal for any session. So to be where we are with one more qualifying session tomorrow ahead of the races is good. It’s great to see so many fans out and about and I cannot put into words how proud I am to be here as a factory Honda rider at my local event.