KMR Kawasaki ER650 at Isle of Man TT

In early February, the biggest news surrounding the 2018 Isle of Man TT was the return of John McGuinness, the 23-time TT winner who broke his leg, back and a few ribs during a North West 200 crash last May.

But he wouldn’t be riding Honda CBR1000RR machinery in the superbike TTs; rather, the “Morecambe Missile” signed with Norton to compete aboard the factory Norton SG7.

John McGuinness and Peter Hickman for KMR Kawasaki
John McGuinness and Peter Hickman

More McGuinness news arrived Tuesday, and once again the story doesn’t involve Honda. KMR/IEG Kawasaki confirmed that the 45-year-old will compete on ER650 machinery during the four-lap Bennetts Lightweight Race during the 2018 Isle of Man TT.

McGuinness is no stranger to the lightweight class; he won the 250cc race in record time in 1999 (Vitmo Honda), but for 2018 he will officially make his debut in the modern Supertwin-spec Lightweight class aboard the ER650 (known as the Ninja 650 stateside).

“I’ve never had the chance to ride the Lightweight class on a Supertwin bike before, but when the opportunity came around, I knew that my first choice would be to ride one of (team owner) Ryan Farquhar’s bikes,” John McGuinness says.

“I raced against Ryan for many years and I know how driven he is to win and his machine preparation is second to none. So when he gave me the chance to join his team for the TT I didn’t need to think twice before saying yes and I am really looking forward to making my debut.”

KMR Kawasaki ER650 at IOM TT John McGuinness
KMR Kawasaki ER650 at IOM TT

Teammate Hickman, who rode for Ryan Farquhar’s team in last year’s race, will also start as one of the leading contenders for the race win.

Ryan Farquhar adds: “Over the years I’ve joked with John many times about riding one of my bikes but with his Honda contract it was never going to materialize. He has moved on from Honda and he sees the twin as giving him a realistic chance of getting back on the top step of the podium. For me, as a privateer running a small team, I am over the moon to have him and Peter Hickman on KMR/IEG Kawasakis.”