John McGuinness and Peter Hickman will lead a four-rider attack for KMR/IEG Kawasaki on the Bennetts Lightweight Race at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.
The duo will ride identically prepared ER650cc Kawasaki’s for three-time TT winner Ryan Farquhar’s team where they will be supported by multiple Irish Champion Derek McGee and former Moto 3 Grand Prix front runner Danny Webb.
23-time TT winner McGuinness, who won the Lightweight 250cc race with lap and race records in 1999, will be making his debut in the class, for Supertwin-specification machines, after previous contractual obligations prevented him from contesting the four-lap race.
Riding this year for Norton Motorcycles in the Superbike and Senior Races, he has been given all-clear to compete in the Lightweight TT where he will be among the race favourites.
Teammate Hickman, who rode for Farquhar’s team in last year’s race, will also start as one of the leading contenders for the race win.
Despite limited track time during a weather-affected qualifying week, the Burton- on-Trent rider finished third behind Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp. His quickest lap - 119.151mph - put him the sixth fastest rider of all-time at the TT on a Supertwin machine.
Derek McGee makes his return to the TT after a one-year absence and is sure to a top ten contender as will Webb who finished in tenth place in the 2015 race. The Tunbridge Wells rider has ridden for KMR Kawasaki every year since making his TT debut in 2014.
Speaking about the deal, Ryan Farquhar said:
“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 materialise. 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.”
John McGuinness added:
“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 Ryan Farquhar’s bikes. 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.”
Peter Hickman commented:
“I really enjoyed riding for KMR Kawasaki last year. I didn’t have much experience of riding the bike and qualifying was ruined by the weather so we went into the race on the back foot a little bit, but it is a testament to Ryan and his team that we were able to bring the bike home on the podium. Ryan has been developing the bike through the winter and with a bit more time on it I’d like to think we can stand a step or two higher up on the podium this time around.”