Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin produced a standing-start opening lap of 130mph in Friday's Dainese Superbike TT at the Isle of Man, but a number of small problems forced him outside the podium positions in the final two laps that saw him eventually finish fourth on his GSX-R1000 Superbike.
His team-mate Conor Cummins was withdrawn from the first race of TT week on safety grounds after consultation between the Manx rider, Team Manager Philip Neill and the Scott physiotherapy team. The hand injury he sustained at the North West 200 a fortnight ago is still causing the affable Manxman considerable discomfort and will be re-assessed prior to Monday's Supersport and Superstock races.
Martin did make the start and was very much in the thick of the action on the opening lap of six, with eventual winner John McGuinness and second-placed Cameron Donald with less than a second covering the trio after 38 miles of racing.
At the end of lap two Martin was still holding third place on the new GSX-R1000, five seconds down on Donald and a further two behind leader McGuinness. Unfortunately the second stop was for fuel only due to a rear wheel spindle problem, which prevented a wheel change; forcing Martin to complete his final two laps on the already over-used rear Pirelli tyre.
Instead of retiring, he continued valiantly but was unable to hold off Bruce Anstey for third place, but accumulated vital information for Friday's Senior TT.
"On those first two laps we'd no real problems worth mentioning but after the pit stop we had a couple of small issues that dropped us off John and Cameron's pace. By the time the rear wheel spindle caused a problem we were out of the race for the win and I just rode it to the finish. The general handling and performance of the new GSX-R1000 is very good. I know I can do the speeds, as we proved on that first lap and the team can do the business, so we're still in with a chance in the Senior. We've come here well prepared, but you can't test for the TT at Kirkistown or Almeria. The only place you can do that is here on the TT Course so we can use what we learned today and apply it for Friday."
"It was the correct decision. I'm obviously gutted but it's all about giving the hand time. I've noticed the change in just one day and it has helped the swelling to go down and the bruising is a lot less. Thanks to the boys in the team for their help and to my Doctor and Isla Scott's team. Some more Hyperbaric chamber visits and plenty of rest should do the trick. We haven't given up hope yet. Someone actually said that Guinness is good for medicinal purposes!"
Philip Neill - Team Manager:
"We're obviously disappointed to lose out on the podium challenge after suffering a few small problems but there's nothing wrong with the Guy Martin and GSX-R package. We matched the Hondas of John and Cameron on that first lap but those couple of issues added up and went against us in the end. That's the TT. The decision to withdraw Conor was the one decision a Team Manager never likes to make. Conor's a mature lad and understood the need to hold him back that little bit longer and we're still optimistic his fans will see him Suzuki-mounted this TT."
Dainese Superbike TT [6 laps] :
1 - John McGuinness [Honda] 2 - Cameron Donald [Honda] +16.92sec 3 - Bruce Anstey [Honda] +57.94 4 - Guy Martin [Tyco Suzuki] +1:17.51 5 - Gary Johnson [Honda] +1:33.11 6 - William Dunlop [Honda] +1:50.58
Guy Martin's Fastest Lap - 17mins 23.75sec [130.135mph] on Lap 1