Michael Dunlop laid down the gauntlet on the fourth evening of practice for this year’s Isle of Man TT with an incredible 132mph lap on the Hawk Racing BMW.
The lap, which came towards the end of the evening’s session, saw Dunlop just three seconds off John McGuinness’ absolute outright lap record.
The evening got off to a rapid start as Ian Hutchinson clocked 131.6mph from a standing start on his Tyco BMW Superbike but Dunlop was on a mission from the off. The Ballymoney man looked set to take the fastest lap of the night as he headed out on his BMW Superstock bike, but missed Hutchy’s time by seconds as he shattered the Superstock lap record with a 131.336mph.
John McGuinness joined the BMW duo in the 131mph bracket as he clocked a 131.116mph lap on his second lap aboard the Honda Racing Fireblade.
Nobody else was close to the leaders on Thursday night with Conor Cummins fourth fastest with an average speed of 129.986mph ahead of Dean Harrison, who continues to impress on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki putting in a 129.968mph lap to conclude the evening.
Norton’s Dave Johnson impressed as he recorded the iconic British marque’s fastest-ever laps around the mountain course, culminating with an incredible 128.323mph lap from a standing start to place ninth in the session.
Bruce Anstey crashed out of the session at Keppel Gate and was taken to Nobles hospital for a check-up on the ankle that took a knock at the North West 200.
The closest man to Dunlop in the Superstock class was Batham’s BMW’s Michael Rutter, who clocked a 127.815mph lap ahead of Ivan Lintin in third with 127.765mph.
Lee Johnston topped the Supersport session with the quickest 600cc lap of the week (124.838mph) ahead of Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness.