John McGuinness (3) will be on the lookout for James Hiller who takes over the number 1 spot on the TT grid from McGuinness.
19-times TT race winner John McGuinness will revert to starting number 3 for the 2013 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy for the first time since 2009. McGuinness has been dominant riding from number 1 in the Superbike class over the past two TT’s but, as he has shown many times in the past, he can win races from just about anywhere on the grid.
2013 will be the second year numbers 1-20 have been seeded, with the rest of the start order determined by times set during qualifying week. Unlike 2012, the first 12 riders will be the same for Dainese Superbike, PokerStars Senior, Royal London 360 Superstock and Monster Energy Supersport races with only the Lightweight Race changing as not all riders will be competing in the 650cc class.
Quattro Kawasaki rider James Hillier will take over the number 1 slot from McGuinness. The 27-year old was one of the stars of last year’s meeting, finishing all of his races inside the top seven on his way to 5th in the Joey Dunlop TT Solo Championship and a clear road should enable him to improve his results even further.
Australian rider Cameron Donald will be the first Honda man to leave the line at number 2. The Wilson Craig Honda rider will be keen to add to his two TT wins, which were both achieved in the 2008 meeting.
With McGuinness at 3, he will need to be wary of the threat from behind with Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin, Padgett’s Racing’s Bruce Anstey and Honda TT Legends new boy Michael Dunlop setting off from 4, 5 and 6 respectively. Martin will be hoping to use the gap to McGuinness to his advantage as he continues to seek his first TT win and Anstey will, in turn, be hunting the Suzuki man down. Northern Ireland rider Michael Dunlop moves up the order from his usual number 9 as he looks to win his first race in the Superbike class and add to his three TT wins.
There’s continuity at number 7 where 2011 Supersport race winner Gary Johnson will again start, this time on a variety of Honda, Kawasaki and MV Agusta machinery for the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport Races respectively. Michael Rutter goes at 8, the third member of the Honda TT Legends team, moving back into the top ten where he’ll be hoping to clock his first 130mph lap and get back onto the podium in the Superbike category. He also has an entry in the Supersport Race, his first in the class since 2009.
Barrow rider Dan Stewart will go from number 9 with the SMT Racing rider being rewarded with a top ten start number for the first time in his career after winning last year’s Privateer’s Championship, giving him a great chance of improving on his already impressive results.
Local hero Conor Cummins remains in his favoured number ten slot riding for the Milwaukee Yamaha Superbike Team. Having missed all of the 2012 races, Cummins will be determined to get back to the form he showed in the 2010 meeting when he set the fastest ever ‘standing start’ lap, and the Superbike Race lap record, both of which still stand.
Cummins’s Milwaukee Yamaha team-mate William Dunlop starts ten seconds behind him at number 11 with the second of the local stars, Dan Kneen, going at number 12 with both riders capable of getting into the top six in all classes.
Numbers 13-20 will be identical for the Superbike, Superstock and Senior TT Races which means Kent rider Steve Mercer, riding BMW‘s for the World Endurance Superstock World Champions Penz13.Com BMW Racing gets the number 13 plate vacated by Stewart with last year’s sensation Dean Harrison following in 14th on the RC Express Kawasakis.
Veteran Ian Lougher will be at number 15 where he’ll be looking to add to his record haul of replicas while PR Kawasaki rider David Johnson starts at number 16. The Australian rider will be looking to improve even further after impressing greatly as a newcomer in 2010 and again last year.
The returning Simon Andrews will have his regular short circuit number of 17, riding the RAF Reserves Racing Superstock Honda in all three 1000cc races and the Ice Valley by Motorsave Honda in the Supersport Races. After crashing heavily in the opening Dainese Superbike Race of 2012, the 29-year old will be looking for some solid results this year to get his TT career back on track.
Ben Wylie and Stefano Bonetti, who both set personal best laps of almost 125mph in 2012, are deservedly given seeded numbers of 18 and 19 for the 1000cc races with Davy Morgan taking the flnal seeded slot.
For the two Supersport races, Daniel Cooper is promoted up the order to number 13, just reward for his excellent results in 2012 with Harrison, Lougher, Johnson, Andrews and Wylie remaining in the same 14-18 slots as the 1000cc Races. There’s a change at 19 and 20 though with Olie Linsdell and Ivan Lintin the last of the seeded riders after both had strong results last year, the latter in particular impressing with a tenth place finish.