Isle of Man legend John McGuinness will set his sights on victory at the Lightweight class at the 2019 Isle of Man astride the recently unveiled 650 cc Norton Superlight. The 23-time TT winner will return to the Isle of Man TT for the first time since fracturing his leg at the 2017 North West 200. McGuiness was only fit enough to take part in a couple of parade laps at this year's Isle of Man event, but went on to win the Classic TT event. The Norton Superlight, which was unveiled at the Motorcycle Live Show in Birmingham, weighs just 158 kg in standard road trim, and will produce 105 bhp from the 650 cc parallel-twin engine.
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"To be honest, I'm blown away with the bike. It's a class I've never raced in. I'm really excited and we want to be winning," McGuiness said. "It's another opportunity for a win and another manufacturer in the class. I'll put my heart and soul into it. Anything to do with the Isle of Man, anything to do with racing: let's get some petrol into it, let's get some testing done and let's get out there. The great thing with Norton for me is it's more like a family adventure. You can see the passion from the boys. These bikes have started as a clean sheet of paper and to see them in the flesh is fantastic."
Norton CEO Stuart Garner, added, "The Superlight is pretty much a balls-out race bike that we've wanted to produce. It's been designed to fit into the Lightweight category - it's a 650 cc homologated road bike so we're compliant with all the regulations and we want to give John McGuinness another bike to run out on at the TT. It's the company's complete focus to be as competitive as we can at this year's TT. It would be ridiculous to launch the bike and then be last, we need to be right at the front end of the grid pretty quick and this is what we are hoping to achieve. John will have the full weight of the factory behind him and we are desperate for a top step on the Isle of Man."
The Norton Superlight's 650 cc parallel-twin engine spins up to a redline of 12,500 rpm, and dishes out 75 Nm of peak torque. With carbon fibre bodywork, and an optional titanium race-spec exhaust system, the power is bumped by an additional 6 bhp and the bike also sheds around 6 kg weight. So far, the specs of the bike McGuinness will race at next summer's Isle of Man haven't been revealed, but even the standard, road-legal Superlight has top-spec components, including Ohlins suspension, and full Brembo braking system with M50 calipers. Standard up/down quickshifter and an IMU-based traction control system offers wheelie control and launch control stability.