Ian Hutchinson joined the exclusive 130mph club when he clocked a 130.165mph lap in tonight’s practice session on his Padgetts Honda superbike – and then said he could have gone faster had it not been for a series of yellow flags around the course.
Uniquely, the sidecars practiced first tonight in order that the solos could test their electronic limiters to comply the new pit-lane speed restriction of 60kph.
But Hutchinson said: “I really didn’t think I’d done a 130mph lap. There were yellows everywhere for broken down outfits. There was a huge puddle of oil, but luckily it was off the line and then we got to Kates and the marshals were still clearing up the debris from an outfit that had gone into the field.”
To test the new pit lane speed limit, the riders started from the top of the pit lane and had to ride its entire length at 60kph before joining the course.
Despite that, and the on-course yellows, Hutchinson’s first lap was a128.303, bettered by Keith Amor on the HM Plant Honda at 128.691 and McAdoo Kawasaki’s Conor Cummins at 128.385mph. But by the second lap Hutchinson was in full flow and topped 130mph.
Cummins improved to 128.838 for second overall and Cameron Donald got the Relentless by TAS Suzuki wound up to 128.836mph for third, while Amor slipped to fourth overall.
Michael Rutter was fifth with a 127.564mph – his best-ever TT lap and on a superstock-spec bike. It was the same HM Plant Honda superstocker he’s been riding all week but shod with Dunlop slicks and decked out in Bathams and SMT livery (Honda boss Neil Tuxworth allowed Rutter to run the bike in the two superbike races, providing he came up with his own funding as the HM Plant budget didn’t extend to the two extra races).
For some reason, Rutter was also credited with the lap in superstock – which placed him fastest but he didn’t run the bike on superstock tyres all evening.
Sixth in superbike was Michael Dunlop, finally happy with the handling of the Uel Duncan/Robinson Concrete Honda for a 127.496mph lap.
Ian Lougher was seventh on 125.670, just ahead of John McGuinness who stopped after his first lap for some suspension alterations.
Guy Martin only posted 15h fastest time with the Wilson Craig Honda plagued by a misfire.
Ignoring Rutter’sa superbike time that was also accredited to the superstock laps, Michael Dunlop set the pace in Superstock with a 127.11mph on the Hunts Motorcycles Honda.
And in Supersport Keith Amor jumped on the Kojak Racing Honda to set the pace with a 124.797, marginally quicker than Hutchinson’s 124.685.
David Johnson continues to impress in the Newcomers. He clocked two successive 118mph laps tonight for 37th overall on the superbike and Stephen Thompson did 117mph. British Supersport rider Dan Cooper was the best Newcomer on a 600 with 113mph on the PRF Suzuki.
Tomorrow night (Friday) is the final practice session ahead of Saturday’s six-lap Superbike TT race.