Isle of Man TT: McGuinness sets the pace with 128mph practice lap

Published: 29 May 2012

A dry, sunny evening met the competitors for Monday evening’s practice session with conditions described as good all around the course.

Riders were again warned of wet tar at Guthrie’s whilst the setting sun would again cause a problem as the evening wore on.

The session was the first for the full 600cc and 1000cc machines as well as the majority of the leading front runners and it was John McGuinness who was comfortably quickest at 128.267mph.

After problems on his opening lap, the Honda TT Legends rider got into the groove late on in the session and, despite the sun causing major headaches, a lap of 126mph+ was followed by his 128mph effort which left him 2mph up on second quickest Cameron Donald.

“I wasn’t happy with the back end of the big bike so I pulled in at the end of the first lap and the boys changed the shock absorber so I was able to get back out for two laps,” said McGuinness.

“There was a bit more traffic but the bike felt a lot better so I managed to get two decent laps in. The biggest problem was the sun especially through the likes of Appledene and Greeba, you had to be really cautious.”

The 17-times TT winner topped the Superbike class from fellow Honda rider Cameron Donald who took his Wilson Craig Racing bike at 126.397mph whilst late laps during the session also came from Bruce Anstey and Simon Andrews at 125.306mph and 124.772mph respectively.

The latter, team-mate to McGuinness, is only in his second TT but after just one session has already got to within 0.4mph of his fastest lap in 2011.

James Hillier was also on the pace at 124.407mph with the likes of Guy Martin, Michael Dunlop, Ryan Farquhar and Gary Johnson all lapping in excess of 123mph.

Meanwhile, Ian Hutchinson, making his return to the Mountain Course after missing the entire 2011 season, lapped at 123.025mph.

“It’s great to get back out onto the course,” said Hutchinson. “It felt really good and with it being the first time on the bike here I was expecting the settings to be way off and although we’ve got a lot of work to do, it’s not as much as I thought and we’ve definitely got a good base setting.”

The Swan Yamaha, like most, managed four laps in the session with his biggest problem coming when he hit a seagull along the start and finish straight!

Cameron Donald and William Dunlop were two riders to switch to their 600cc bikes and the Wilson Craig Racing team-mates were immediately on the pace, the duo lapping at 121.442 and 122.904 respectively, the latter comfortably the quickest in the class, whilst late laps from Michael Dunlop and Dan Kneen saw them go third and fourth quickest in the class.

The newcomers were also getting dialled in with Jamie Hamilton, under the wing of Ryan Farquhar and the KMR Kawasaki team quickest at 112.66mph. Michael Niblett was next up at 111.17mph whilst Lee Johnston, Karl Harris and Jimmy Storrar were just shy of the 110mph mark.

At 8.10pm it was the turn of the sidecars and it was Dave Molyneux who was quickest at 111.856mph followed by Tim Reeves on 110.32, no mean feat given that it was his first lap of the Mountain course with Sayle.

Molyneux was slightly slower on his second lap whilst Reeves was slightly quicker with Harrison also breaking the 110mph barrier.

Glyn Jones/Richard Murphy, (108.028), Dougie Wright/Martin Hull (106.292) and Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Millgan (105.030) completed the leaderboard.

However, Jones/Murphy were reported to be involved in an incident at Kepple Gate although both were described as conscious when taken by air-med to Nobles Hospital.

The Birchall Brothers – Ben and Tom – were involved in an incident at Brandywell and were reported okay although they were also taken to Nobles Hospital.

Tuesday's session is scheduled to start at 18.20 with a Superbike/Superstock/Supersport session, followed by a Supersport and Lightweight session at 19.05 and Sidecars scheduled to get away at 20.00.