Guy Martin: I didn't join Honda to be a development rider

Guy Martin with John McGuinness at the Isle of Man TT.
Guy Martin with John McGuinness at the Isle of Man TT.

Guy Martin has called time on his association with Honda Racing after a disastrous comeback season.

Martin was unveiled as John McGuinness’s new team-mate amidst a blaze of publicity in January, but just over six months later it seems the Lincolnshire man has had enough.

Guy Martin gets ready to set off on his first practice lap of the 2017 Isle of Man TT on the new Honda Fireblade SP2.

Guy Martin gets ready to set off on his first practice lap of the 2017 Isle of Man TT on the new Honda Fireblade SP2.

The 35-year-old never completed an international road race on the new Honda Fireblade SP2 at the North West 200 or Isle of Man TT and in a statement on his official Facebook page, Martin said he did not join Honda Racing to ‘develop a bike over months and years’.

“I went into the year right excited about the new Honda. I thought it would be great straight away and so did the team,” Martin said.

“I soon realised that it needed a lot of developing and it will be great but it needs time and I’ve got loads of other projects going on, that I’d rather use that time for. I didn’t get involved to develop a bike over months and years: I was told I’d have a bike capable of winning straight away and that’s why I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

“TT was a bloody disaster; aside from walking the dog and racing the Mugen, I didn’t enjoy it. It was clear even before that we were going to struggle and then it turned into me really being a test rider, which I did but after we did more testing at Cadwell a few weeks back, I said to the team the bike won't be competitive at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Lincolnshire rider Guy Martin never completed a single international road race on the new Honda Fireblade at the North West 200 or Isle of Man TT.

Lincolnshire rider Guy Martin never completed a single international road race on the new Honda Fireblade at the North West 200 or Isle of Man TT.

“They decided to withdraw me from the event, although they didn’t tell me, which is OK as the decision was made for me,” he added.

“So I’ve not given up on racing or road racing, there’s no unfinished business and I want to race classics and oddball stuff. All I've been thinking about recently is Pikes Peak and any spare time my brain has had is about Pikes Peak on four wheels. That job is down to me and if it doesn’t work, it’s my fault and I like that.”

Martin said there was ‘no bad feeling’ over his failed stint as a Honda rider and admitted his disappointment that things had not worked out.

“So there’s no bad feeling. Neil Tuxworth has been upfront with me from the start and it's a shame for everyone that the new bike hasn’t worked. I know how much effort I put in and so do the team, so no regrets but I've got no plans to do anymore road racing on the Hondas this year.

Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Fireblade at Union Mills at the Isle of Man TT.

Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Fireblade at Union Mills at the Isle of Man TT.

“Nigel Racing Corporation’s (NRC) current plans are preparation for Pikes Peak and classic racing but the plans can change with the wind.

“Ta for the support.”

Martin crashed at high-speed in the Superbike race at the TT and was fortunate to escape serious injury. A false neutral was declared as the cause of the crash, which occurred at the fast Doran’s Bend. However, Martin pulled out of the blue riband Senior race.

At the North West 200 in May, McGuinness broke his leg in a spill during qualifying at Primrose Corner. The Morecambe rider said his Honda Superbike did not slow when he rolled the throttle on the approach to the left-hand bend. Honda withdrew from the event in the wake of the incident.

Speaking after finishing as the runner-up in the TT Zero race on the Mugen, Martin’s frustration was clear for all to see and it seemed the writing was already on the wall.

“With what has gone on this week, I’m sick to the back teeth with it to be honest. The only good thing I can drag out of it is the whole Mugen thing,” he said.

“I ask myself why am I doing it and then I say, ‘well I’m on a Mugen’, and that’s a good reason for doing it. If I get the chance to come back on the Mugen then yeah, but for owt else then I think I need to have a bit of a rethink.”