As the Honda TT Legends team prepares to enter its third year of competition, Honda Motor Europe has revealed a five-strong rider line-up for 2013. The team will once again compete in the Endurance World Championship as well as the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200 road races aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
Nineteen-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness, road racing ace Cameron Donald and 2011 fastest TT newcomer Simon Andrews will remain with the Honda TT Legends for the four-round EWC season. McGuinness will be joined by 13-time NW200 winner and three-time TT victor Michael Rutter and three-time TT winner Michael Dunlop to form a three-man Superbike squad for the TT and the NW200. Rutter will also join the team to complete the four-man EWC rider line-up.
The new-look team was unveiled today at Motorcycle Live in the UK as McGuinness, Andrews, Rutter and Dunlop took to the main stage for a Q&A; with TT commentator James Whitham. Cameron Donald was unable to attend as he is at home enjoying the Australian summer. The updated livery for the Honda TT Legends machine was also revealed – a tri-colour design that replicates that of the 2013 production Fireblade, re-affirming the close affinity between the race machine and its road-going relative.
Neil Tuxworth – team manager
We’re very pleased to have a really strong team both for World Endurance and the road races this year. The team that we’ve put together for both disciplines means we are in a much stronger position than last year. Bringing Rutter into the EWC team is a very positive addition, he’s a rider with a lot of experience, he’s quick but also safe and we feel he will improve the strength of the team all round. Looking at the road racing, we’ve haven’t run a three-man squad for a number of years now. It’s quite significant that not only are we running three riders but we are bringing Michael Dunlop in as one of those three. He’s a young rider that already has three TT wins under his belt and we feel that he is the future of road racing. With Dunlop, McGuinness and Rutter – who of course have both been very successful on the roads – we have a very strong line-up for 2013.
**John McGuinness – EWC and road race
** I’m really pleased to be involved with the team again. For EWC, I know the tracks, I know the bike and we’re ready to start upping our game even more. We’ve done well during the development stage over the last couple of years but this is the year for us to fight for the podium and challenge for the championship. As for the roads, it’s second nature for me now. I love working with the same crew that I’ve been with for so many years. The whole package just works and I don’t want to change that. I’m ready to get stuck in and hopefully get some more wins.
**Michael Rutter – EWC and road race
** I’m really excited to be riding with the Honda TT Legends next year. Endurance is not something I have done before so that’s going to be a great experience and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do there. I’ve obviously got a history with the Louth-based team as I did BSB and the roads with them for a couple of years in 2004/2005, so I’m familiar with the Fireblade and I know the crew well. It will be good to be back with the team and I’m really happy to back with Honda.
**Michael Dunlop – road race
** This is a big opportunity for me with both Honda and Dunlop and it’s an honour to be riding for them so I’m looking forward to getting started. People are asking me how it will be for me having John as a team-mate but when we get on the bike it will be the same. I get on well with John but I don’t worry about anybody else when I’m on track. As a team we’ve got a great line-up with Rutter as well so it’ll be a pretty good show.
**Cameron Donald - EWC
** I am excited to be part of the Honda TT Legends team for the 2013 EWC season. Endurance has been a huge learning curve for me as its such a unique discipline of racing. I am confident that the 2013 bike, crew and rider line-up will be more competitive than ever and we’ll hopefully be ready to challenge for podiums from the first race. It's unfortunate that I couldn’t be at Motorcycle Live to join my team-mates today but I’m at home in Australia. I’m looking forward to seeing them all at the racetrack in 2013!
**Simon Andrews - EWC
** I’m looking forward to another season with the team in EWC. I get on well with everyone and it’s great to have Rutter involved this year too. We’re more established now and with some changes to the bike things are looking positive, so we’re in with a much greater chance. It’s a really close knit team and from the outset I think we can improve on our results to better last year’s fourth place finish.