Good news, everyone! We now know that we’ll definitely be seeing John McGuinness racing at the 2020 Isle of Man TT when that Saturday, May 30 weekend finally rolls around. The only thing you might be questioning if you haven’t seen the news yet is: which bike and what team? OK, that’s two questions, but they have one answer, and it might not be the one you think.
No Fireblade for McGuinness this time—and no Norton, either. Instead, the 23-time TT winner will be racing a Ninja ZX-10RR for the Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki Team run by Pete Extance. He’ll run with the team in the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock, and Senior TT races during the 2020 event.
It’s been a tough time for Mr. TT at the IOM for the past few years. For 2017, he couldn’t compete as he was recovering from the multiple injuries he’d sustained in a serious crash at that year’s North West 200 race. 2018 saw a possible return to the TT with Norton, but his recovery wasn’t there yet, so no TT that year, either. Then, in 2019, when he was able to race with Norton, and engine bolt broke and in an ignominious bit of luck, he Did Not Finish.
Can the Kawasaki-powered McGuinness—or is that the McGuinness-powered Kawasaki—return to winning ways for 2020? Anything is certainly possible, and only a fool would count McGuinness out of anything just yet.
McGuinness had previously been in talks with Paul Bird as well as Norton about the upcoming season, which makes sense if you’re Mr. TT and you’re keen to race this year. As Autosport points out, it’s unclear whether this means McGuinness will also ride a ZX-6R to compete in the Supersport race, as well. If he’s keen to do it, and the hardware is there, why not?