Honda announces McGuinness, Harrison for 2023 road racing campaign

Honda Racing UK has announced John McGuinness and Nathan Harrison as its road racing rider line-up for the 2023 racing season.

John McGuinness, Nathan Harrison with Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade. - Honda

Honda Racing UK has announced its rider line-up for the 2022 road racing season, with John McGuinness being joined by Nathan Harrison.

John McGuinness’ return to Honda in 2022 saw him achieve his 100th Isle of Man TT race start as teammates with the then-Honda BSB rider Glenn Irwin. 

The Northern Irishman has since departed Honda, and road racing in general - for now, at least - as he decides to focus on his family life over road racing. 

Irwin’s Honda Racing UK spot is filled by Nathan Harrison for 2023, another young rider, and one with similarly little experience of the top-level road races as the rider he replaces. On the Isle of Man, though, Harrison has gained experience outside the TT, finding success at the Manx Grand Prix in the past.

Harrison clocked a personal-fastest lap of 128.087mph around the Snaefell Course last year in his first ever Senior TT. 

For Harrison, the partnership with his teammate is also a significant one, as the Manxman grew up idolising John McGuinness.

Honda has confirmed that its road racing efforts will be spread across the North West 200, Isle of Man TT Superbike class, and the Superstock class at the TT, as well.

John McGuinness said: “Riding a Fireblade again at the TT last year was something special so it only felt right to continue for another year. I couldn't feel more at home with the Honda team so I need to say a massive thank you to Harv and Neil.

“Celebrating 100 TT starts with the team and riding with that one-off livery and all of the history that we have was really something else. We also managed to crack the top 5 last year on the superbike, which was great, but I'm hungry for more. I just want to get started now and go racing again.”

Nathan Harrison said: “To race alongside John and to ride in the Honda Racing UK team has always been a dream of mine. Coming from a Manx family that has always been involved in motorcycling, the TT has always been in my blood. Watching the TT as a child with John & Honda dominating, it made me want to be the next ‘John McGuinness’ and that was my full focus. 

“I can’t thank Havier & Honda Racing UK enough for the opportunity. It’s only my second ever TT, so to be going into it on a great bike, with the best teammate I could ask for, will be an incredible experience. Hopefully, the long-term plan of where John can teach me things I may not know, learning from the team with the experience they have on the Fireblade and then my own progression, we can make small steps on last year to hopefully get me to that top step in the years to come. 

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my Mum and Dad for all their support and sacrifice over the years, my sponsors and supporters for sticking by me and helping me to get to this position where I have been given the fantastic opportunity.”

Havier Beltran, Honda Racing UK Race Team Manager, said: “I’m extremely pleased that we have been able to retain John’s services for another year of racing on the roads at the NW200 and TT where we have such a strong history at both events. Welcoming him back into the fold in 2022 was fantastic and to witness John celebrating 100 TT starts and be a part of that history was brilliant for everyone involved. Continuing that relationship for another season and building on last year shows Honda’s commitment to international Road Racing. 

“It also gives me great pleasure to welcome Nathan to the team. He had a remarkable breakthrough year in 2022 and has impressed me with the attitude that he has toward his racing. It will be great for him to learn from John and utilise all of his experience and expertise to build step by step. I’m excited to see what we can all achieve together in 2023.”

Neil Fletcher, Honda UK Head of Motorcycles, said: “We’re really excited to be competing once more in the international road racing programme. Returning to the NW200 and TT last year after a short absence reminded us all of just how important these events are to the motorcycle racing community. 

“Having John, with whom we have shared so much success over the years, to return to the team in 2022 and celebrate his 100th TT start, as well as the Fireblade’s 30th anniversary, was something truly special as he is such a valued member of the team. It was therefore an easy decision to continue that relationship as his status and experience are second to none.

“It also gives me great pleasure to welcome Nathan to the team for 2023. He clearly has the talent and hunger to push on to bigger and better things after a strong first Senior TT last year and it represents our continued commitment to help support and nurture future talent on the Roads. Now that our plans are all complete, I for one, simply cannot wait to get started.”

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