TT 2017: Dunlop hits 131mph in red flagged qualifying

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Michael Dunlop increased the pace as Saturday’s extra practice sessions got underway on the Isle of Man, clocking a 131.062mph lap from a standing start on his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Trying out a modified standard swinging arm in his Suzuki, Dunlop flew off the line to clock the first 130mph+ lap of the week, significantly ahead of his rivals.

Peter Hickman set the second quickest time of the session on his flying lap with an average speed of 130.629mph ahead of pacesetter so far this week Ian Hutchinson who lapped the course at 130.327mph.

Dan Kneen set his fastest ever lap of the mountain course to place fourth in the session with a 130.324mph ahead of Michael Rutter who rounded out the 130mph men on the Bathams BMW.

Many riders were on course to improve their times as the red flag was drawn with just minutes of the session remaining. Confirming the stoppage, Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson announced the red flag incident had taken place at Greeba Castle.  It was later revealed that the rider involved had been Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston, who fell from his Padgetts Honda CBR600RR. He was conscious at the scene and taken to Noble’s Hospital by airmed for further assessment. 

Bruce Anstey narrowly missed out on a 130mph lap on the Padgetts RC213V-S with a time of 129.913mph.

James Hillier led the way in the Superstock class with a 128.173mph ahead of Dan Kneen and Peter Hickman, but Hickman was on course for a 131mph lap on his stock machine as the red flag came out.


Lee Johnston was the quickest Supersport machine with a lap of 123.369mph, ahead of newcomer Adam McLean who continues to impress as he makes his mountain course debut. With another Supersport/Lightweight session later this afternoon, most of the big hitters stuck to the 1000cc machinery for the lengthened session. 


  1. Michael Dunlop – Bennetts Suzuki – 131.062mph
  2. Peter Hickman – Smiths BMW – 130.629mph 
  3. Ian Hutchinson – Tyco BMW – 130.327mph 
  4. Dan Kneen – BMW – 130.324mph 
  5. Michael Rutter – Bathams BMW – 130.036mph 
  6. Bruce Anstey – Padgetts Honda – 129.913mph 
  7. Dean Harrison – Silicone Engineering Kawasaki – 129.187mph 
  8. Lee Johnston – East Coast Racing BMW – 128.896mph 
  9. James Hillier – JG Speedfit Kawasaki – 128.576mph
  10. Martin Jessopp – Riders Motorcycles BMW – 127.887mph 


  1. James Hillier – JG Speedfit Kawasaki – 128.173mph 
  2. Dan Kneen – BMW – 127.740mph 
  3. Peter Hickman – Smiths BMW –  127.470mph
  4. William Dunlop – Temple Golf Yamaha – 126.719mph 
  5. Martin Jessopp – Riders Motorcycles BMW – 126.094mph
  6. Dean Harrison – Silicone Engineering Kawasaki – 125.904mph 
  7. Dan Hegarty – Top Gun Honda – 125.575mph
  8. David Johnson – Fleetwood Grab BMW – 124.887mph 
  9. Phil Crowe – Fleetwood Grab BMW – 123.917mph 
  10. Sam West – PRL/Worthington BMW – 123.053mph 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing