Honda Quietly Release Details of Fireblade Failure in McGuinness Crash

Honda publically announce details of John McGuinness NW200 crash on same day that Guy Martin takes to Facebook to dismiss newspaper claims of his quitting road racing.

Rewind to the North West 200 and turn your attention to the high-speed crash John McGuinness had at Primrose Hill. Fans and racers were shocked; McGuinness isn’t known to be a faller, so whispers in the paddock of something being wrong with the bike, soon became shouts from the fans. It was a horrific crash, and John suffered a badly broken leg which has put him out of the 2017 season and raised question over whether the 23 time TT winner, will return to road racing at all.

Honda did eventually confirm that John himself had quickly fed back to the team that the throttle had either stuck or opened unexpectedly. However, the official cause of the crash hadn’t been announced properly until today.

After the rather loud explosion of rebutted ‘Guy Martin retirement’ news released by MCN, it might raise the odd skeptical eyebrow that it was also MCN that announced – just hours later – the official confirmation from Honda that it was an error with their bike which caused John to crash.

Honda Team Manager, Jonny Twelvetrees released today in a statement that after having extracted and reviewed the data from the ECU on McGuinness bike, they can now confirm that it was a setting on the ECU race kit software that resulted in the throttle, unexpectedly, blipping.

Speaking about the incident, Twelvetrees had this to say,


“Although at the time there was a long delay in getting the data from John’s bike due to the ECU being damaged – the ECU had to be sent all the way to the supplier in China to extract the data from it – we put in a countermeasure of a new spec of ECU for the TT to ensure the problem wouldn’t happen again.

“Separately, now that we know what happened the race kit software has been updated and is now performing flawlessly – no repeat of the issue in over 5000 Ks of both testing and racing since, including at the Slovakia Ring Endurance World Championship race where we put the Fireblade up on the podium.”

Surely this fault with the bike being confirmed as the reason for McGuinness’ horror smash – the same bike that Martin himself has publicly criticised – is the biggest story here? It’s fair to say that on any other ‘non Guy Martin’ day, this would have been huge news.

In the interest of impartial journalism, let’s suggest that the timing of this release with a prepared Martin interview is nothing more than a mere coincidence. 

John has had to undergo numerous surgeries from the break to his right tibia and fibula in the crash, and his recovery looks to be taking a while. Road racing is full of danger, and riders must accept that injury or death is a real risk of the job.

But is it fair to accept this is part of the deal on a bike which would appear to not be fit for purpose? With Martin having described the Honda Fireblade SP2 that threw him off at this year’s Isle of Man TT as ‘always going to be wrong‘, it’s been a tricky year for the entire Honda Road Racing team.

You could hardly blame them for wanting to have the attention taken away from some less than complimentary news.



  1. Avatar

    Bruce McDonald

    July 26, 2017 at 23:55

    I respect Honda for admitting this problem in a public way, despite the fact that it is a failure which would not affect street-ridden Hondas which are used by more typical Honda riders. Some other companies ( the BMW 1200GS fork stanchion failure, and the preceding BMW F650GS fork slider casting failure are two glaring examples which come to mind ) seem to prefer to conceal the truth for as long as possible, which may well put users of the product involved in jeopardy.

  2. Avatar

    Bike EXIF

    July 27, 2017 at 02:33

    So they can’t build a race bike, they can’t build a F1 engine … Honda should basically leave all forms of motorsport and stick to making small hatchbacks!

  3. Avatar

    Martin Jones

    July 27, 2017 at 09:08

    Sounds very much like the @caseysjournal incident. Once unlucky but twice-if the same-is unforgivable!!

  4. Avatar


    July 27, 2017 at 12:15

    hahaha they’re excellent at sub 125s

  5. Avatar

    Big Ramifications

    December 20, 2019 at 12:21

    I eat that sh!t for breakfast.

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