John McGuinness got his 24th season of road racing up and running in superb style with a brilliant third place in the opening round of the National Superstock 1000cc Championship at Brands Hatch.

John, who will be hoping for his 20th Isle of Man TT victory this year, is one of four star riders being sponsored by Lexelle Limited this season

With three laps to go, the Morcambe rider had led the field but Adam Jenkinson made his move on lap 21 with Filip Backland following suit a lap later.

It pushed John back to third but he came home 0.9s behind race winner Jenkinson for a brilliant podium finish, the ideal start to his season.

A delighted John said: “What can I say, it was a brilliant race and given the fact we only put a late entry in a few days before the event, to end up third is a dream start to the year for both me and the team.

“I’ve been testing quite a lot with the Honda TT Legends team so felt good straightaway on Friday and that form carried on throughout the weekend. I thought the other boys would overhaul me once they got dialed in but it didn’t happen and the front row was the ideal place to be.

“I could have held on for the win but I’m delighted to be back on the box and it’s credit to the whole team that we could pitch up and be so strong each and every time we took to the track.”

John now heads to the Isle of Man for the official launch of the 2013 TT Races.

Picture by Glynne Lewis