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Isle of Man TT: Interview with John McGuinness

Visordown catches up with TT legend

Eleven-times TT winner John McGuinness stamped his authority on this year's event by posting a practice lap time averaging 129mph. Visordown caught up with the circuit's outright lap record holder and asked him what he was hoping to achieve in the Island's centenary race series and how was he coping with the pressure of being expected to crack the 130mph average.

What are your main aims for 2007's TT?

"This is a special year and I'm going to do everything in my power to win as many races as possible for Honda. The team have done a fantastic job preparing the race bikes and I reckon the results speak for themselves - I'm over the moon to have clocked up a 129mph average in practice."

So you reckon a 130mph lap's on the cards then?

"It should be, conditions permitting, but my number one aim is to win races. There's no point chasing a superfast lap time if it's at the expense of winning the race. You could bang out a 130mph lap and come 5th. I want to clinch as many titles as possible in this centenary year - cracking the 130mph would be nice but it's not my primary goal. If it happens it happens."

You're looking in good shape. Have you been working at losing a bit of weight?

"I've been training hard over the last year and following a strict diet, so I'm a stone and a half lighter than in 2006 and far fitter too, which makes a big difference when you're going flat out for six laps. Physically I feel better than ever."

And mentally?

"Obviously, when you've got the No.1 plate on your bike then everyone's gunning for you, so yes, I'm feeling the pressure. My team mate (Ian Hutchinson) is putting in some seriously impressive times but I've got a lot of experience under my belt around this place and circuit knowledge is vital around somewhere as technical as the Island."

What are your thoughts on the changes made to the circuit this year? (some bends have been altered to enhance safety).

"I'm not overly keen on the new Windy Corner, as I reckon it'll be harder work when there's a strong wind blowing. Brandish is now extremely quick. The radius of the curve has been altered, which means that although it's safer the corner's also a heck of a lot faster - we're probably touching 150mph on a good day, rather than 50mph on the old layout. It's certainly going to help knock a few seconds off the overall lap time."

The weather's not been as good as we'd hoped. It must come as a bit of a disappointment when a race is postponed? (this year's Superbike race was switched from Saturday to Monday due to bad weather).

"Obviously I'd like to just get on with it - the weather's something you can't do anything about. Yes it's frustrating but that's just a part of racing."

What's your favourite part of the course?

"It's nice to ride the well-known bits but, for me, the most interesting parts are all the little sections that don't have names. There's no better feeling than riding around the circuit flat out - there's nowhere in the world quite like it.

"One thing's for sure, even though it's the centenary year the walls and trees aren't any softer, which means I'll be treating the place with the same degree of respect I do every year."

John will be competing in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior events on his HM Plant sponsored machines, so keep an eye out for the 34-year-old Lancastrian, as we think he's going to be as awesome as ever in 2007.

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