Honda Motor Europe’s factory race team is better known simply as the Honda TT Legends squad, and this year the team is really living up to that name.
Fielding a five-rider all-star squad for the 2013 season, the Honda TT Legends team will compete in the 2013 Endurance World Championship (EWC) with John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, Cameron Donald, and Simon Andrews.
For the Isle of Man TT and other road races, the team will retain McGuiness and Rutter, while adding Michael Dunlop to the mix on the three-rider squad.
A veteran road racer, Michael Rutter’s addition to the Honda TT Legends EWC team is an interesting one, as it will be the first time that “The Blade” has competed in endurance racing. For the TT, Rutter will be a very serious contender against McGuinness on the big bikes, and could steal some podiums and race wins from the Honda front-man.
Meanwhile on the smaller bikes, Michael Dunlop should be a force with the factory team’s backing, as the Irishman has often produced strong results with less-than-top-notch equipment — we are very pleased to see Dunlop getting support from Honda this season.
For the FIM Endurance World Championship, the Honda TT Legends team is looking to be a contender for the Championship win, having finished the 2012 season in fourth place, and one of only two teams to complete each round of the EWC.
Having two development years under its belt, the all-Anglo team has podiums and victories on its goal-list for 2013, and with a strong rider line-up, the other factory teams will definitely have the squad on their radar. Below are team quotes and launch photos:
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.
Source: Honda TT Legends