Isle of Man TT: Dunlop sets cracking pace on eve of Superbike race
Michael Dunlop set the Isle of Man alight on Saturday morning, posting a lap of 130.895mph to top the Superbike TT leaderboard and head into Sunday’s 6-lap race in top form and as, arguably, the man to beat.
With the race put back 24 hours to give the competitors more track time after the wet weather earlier in the week, Dunlop lapped at 129.68mph from a standing start before becoming the first man at TT2013 to break the 130mph barrier on his second lap.
It made him six seconds faster than Honda TT Legends team-mate John McGuinnes and came despite hitting a bird.
“I knew I’d get a bird this week but I was expecting a woman, not one of the feathered variety,” quipped the fast talking Ulsterman. “The first lap wasn’t that great but the second one was ok so it’s good to finally get some quick laps in on the big girl.”
McGuinness was also over 130mph with a lap of 130.106mph and although he expressed a lack of grip from the rear tyre, he was happy with the lap and feeling confident for the race.
The organisers decision to grant the extra practice session was clearly vindicated as all but two of the top ten fastest Superbike times were set during the morning with good conditions all around the course.
Gary Johnson’s standing start lap of 129.611mph placed him third overall on the leaderboard whilst Bruce Anstey’s lap from Thursday afternoon of 129.144mph was good enough for fourth.
Meanwhile, Guy Martin, Michael Rutter and James Hillier all posted their best lap of the week on Saturday, all three over 128mph.
Milwaukee Yamaha team-mates Conor Cummins and William Dunlop lapped almost exactly at the same pace, 127.339mph and 127.337mph respectively, with Cameron Donald completing the top ten at 126.964mph. Josh Brookes continued to both improve and impress, his new fastest lap a stunning 124.476mph.
The Supersport class saw nearly all of the fastest laps of the week set on Saturday morning, Michael Dunlop again the quickest on his PTR Honda, his lap of 125.146mph slightly quicker than the time he set on Thursday evening.
It was a Honda 1-2-3 with McGuinness and Anstey the only two other riders lapping in excess of 124mph, William Dunlop on the Yamaha breaking their stranglehold in fourth. Meanwhile, Johnson set an impressive lap of 123.516mph on the ValMoto MV Agusta.
The Lightweight machines were also out in force on Saturday, their session in the afternoon coming just before drizzle began to fall and it was Hillier who ended up quickest on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, his lap of 115.665mph inside the lap record set last year by Rutter.
Back on board Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki, Rutter was second fastest, four seconds behind Hillier with Ivan Lintin again impressing in third on 114.341mph.
Jamie Hamilton on a second KMR Kawasaki ended the week in fourth overall just ahead of Michael Dunlop, his lap from last Saturday keeping him in fifth.
Meanwhile, with most riders concentrating on the Superbikes, a number of them only put in a solitary lap on the Superstock bikes and it was Martin who topped the leaderboard on 127.023mph.
Rutter placed second on 125.248mph with Northern Ireland’s Shaun Anderson in an excellent third with a personal best lap of 125.156mph.