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Jun 3, 2017

Isle Of Man TT: Michael Dunlop Records Lap At 131.062 mph During Practice Saturday

Michael Dunlop (6) on his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000. Photo courtesy of Bennetts Suzuki.


Michael Dunlop has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of tomorrow’s RST Superbike race at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, with a lap of 131.062mph in Saturday morning’s qualifying session.

After the session Michael Dunlop said:

"I'm happy to do the lap, but we have suffered with the lack of track time and we're still working on setup. It's the first time this bike has been round here, so we've been changing lots of things each time we go out. The time's good but we've got to ride at that pace for six laps tomorrow, so we'll see how we go."

After a slight delay due to a medical issue at Glen Lough, the morning practice session got underway at 10.54am with David Johnson and Ian Hutchinson leading the field away on their Superbikes followed by James Hillier, Michael Rutter, Gary Johnson and Dean Harrison.

Conditions all around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course were ideal and Hutchinson was first to complete a lap on the Tyco BMW at 129.89mph although this was upstaged by Dunlop’s 131mph+ lap on the Bennetts Suzuki.

Dan Kneen was also quicker than Hutchinson with Peter Hickman and Harrison the only other riders above 129mph. Dunlop wasn’t able to improve upon his lap second time around but Hickman went second quickest on the Smiths Racing BMW with a lap of 130.629mph.

Hutchinson moved up to third with 130.327mph but Kneen was only three hundredths of a second behind with a lap of 130.324mph, which was his quickest ever lap of the Mountain Course, albeit unofficially. Michael Rutter (Bathams/SMT Racing BMW) was the fifth and final rider to break the 130mph barrier with Bruce Anstey and James Hillier getting into the 129s.

David Johnson and Josh Brookes both lapped at just under 127mph on the Nortons whilst impressive laps were recorded by, among others, Derek Sheils, Jamie Coward, Phil Crowe and Andrew Dudgeon.

As the session wore on, the riders constantly pitted to either make changes to their Superbike or switch to their Supersport or Superstock machines and Lee Johnston was quickest in both of the latter. However, he crashed out towards the end of the session at Greeba Castle, sustaining minor injuries, and the session came to an early end. It was later reported that Johnston would be transferred to Liverpool for further assessment and treatment. Joe Akroyd on his Superstock machine was reported off at Glentramman and was also transferred to Liverpool while Danny Webb sustained a shoulder injury in an incident at Laurel Bank.

After a break for Sidecar qualifying, the solo’s were back on track at 2.20pm with a session for the Supersport and Lightweight machines but the session was soon red flagged after an incident involving Paul Jordan and Bjorn Gunnarsson at Sarah’s Cottage. Both were taken to Nobles Hospital with Jordan sustaining a wrist injury and Gunnarsson complaining of neck pains but both were later discharged.

At 3.25pm, the action resumed and William Dunlop was quickest out the blocks with a lap of 125.297mph to go to the top of the Supersport leaderboard. Dean Harrison wasn’t far behind with 125.188mph with Ian Hutchinson, James Hillier and Peter Hickman also over 124mph.

However, the session was stopped due to a non-racing incident at Union Mills eventually restarting just after 4pm.

Hutchinson went slightly quicker to maintain his third place with Gary Johnson improving to 123.336mph and seventh overall. A superb performance came from newcomer Adam McLean with a lap of 120.499mph whilst fellow debutante Joey Thompson also improved, his best lap being 117.287mph.

In the Lightweight class, Martin Jessopp set the fastest lap of the week with a speed of 116.535mph on the Riders Motorcycles Kawasaki. 2015 and 2016 winner Ivan Lintin was less than half a second behind in second with Hickman’s final lap of 116.239mph seeing him jump up to third on the KMR/IEG Kawasaki.

Dan Cooper also lapped in excess of 116mph to place fourth ahead of Stefano Bonetti with Michael Dunlop putting in his first laps of the week on the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki to go sixth at 115.572mph. Gary Johnson, Josh Brookes and James Cowton were the other riders to lap at more than 115mph whilst McLean was again flying in tenth.

Tomorrow’s schedule, the first race day of the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy is as follows:

12.45 - Road closed Barrule Park, Ramsey to Bungalow

13.00 - Road closed Bungalow to Creg Ny Baa

13.30 - Roads closed rest of the course

14.00 - RST Superbike Race (6 laps)

16.25 - Sidecar Qualifying (1 lap)

16.40 - TT Zero Qualifying (1 lap)

17.30 - Roads scheduled to be open except mountain section

18.30 - Roads scheduled to be open around the course

More, from a press release issued by Bennetts Suzuki:

Dunlop and Bennetts Suzuki top Isle of Man TT Superbike qualifying

Michael Dunlop ended qualifying for tomorrow's Isle of Man TT Superbike race at the top of the time sheets, posting a lap of 131.062mph onboard his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 in today's session.

Dunlop recorded the time from a standing start, and while happy with the progress he and the team have made with the new machine, the lack of track time means there are still areas left to improve and more potential to exploit with the big Suzuki.

Michael Dunlop, "I'm happy to do the lap, but we have suffered with the lack of track time and we're still working on setup. It's the first time this bike has been round here, so we've been changing lots of things each time we go out. The time's good but we've got to ride at that pace for six laps tomorrow, so we'll see how we go."

Team manager, Steve Hicken, "If anyone was going to be hindered by a lack of track time this week it was going to be us. We've done a lot with the bike, changing settings and components, improving it all the time, and we're pleased with the lap, but we're still working on everything; from corner entry to stability, everything. There's plenty of potential there but getting a bike to work around the Isle of Man takes time and it takes laps. But we're all working hard and we'll do our best again tomorrow."

Superbike qualifying result: 1. Michael Dunlop (131.062mph), 2. Peter Hickman (130.629mph), 3. Ian Hutchinson (130.327mph).

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing:

Honda Racing makes progress against time at the TT

Isle of Man TT

Snaefell Mountain Course, Isle of Man

Despite weather conditions affecting practice sessions at the Isle of Man TT, the Honda Racing team is making progress with its only rider Guy Martin at the 37.73-mile course, ahead of tomorrow’s six-lap Superbike TT race.

The opening week of practice was disrupted with four of the scheduled practice sessions cancelled due to wet weather affecting play. The lack of track time has resulted in Martin having only completed nine laps of the Mountain course, ahead of the rescheduled Superbike race.

The lack of crucial track time has affected the Honda Racing team with the all-new Fireblade, as well as Martin, who is making his return to racing. The team has been working hard with Martin to find a setting he’s comfortable with, but limited time aboard the CBR has made matters difficult.

The six-lap RST Superbike TT has been rescheduled and is due to take place tomorrow (Sunday 4 June) at 1400.

Guy Martin 8

I am enjoying being back at the TT; the first night we were able to practice reminded me why I go racing, the course out there really is something else! We haven’t had the best of starts with the weather and we really needed some more track time. We are making progress and I have the best team for the job. We just have to see what tomorrow now brings and I’m looking forward to giving it a good go!

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

Well this week has been really frustrating with the weather, but the right decisions were made to cancel and move the sessions; around here safety is first and foremost. We have managed to have two good, solid sessions with last night and also today, but of course what we really needed was more track time. We are making progress and we’re working on different engine specs and finding a setting that suits Guy for the race. I know we have a strong package for this year, but it’s just pulling it all together in sync.

More, from a press release issued by Tyco BMW/TAS Racing:

Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson has had a solid start to the 2017 IOM TT by posting the fastest Superstock time, a staggering standing start 129.53mph lap despite what can only be described as a week of underwhelming weather conditions. With sessions cut short or cancelled, race organisers worked around this, with the RST Superbike race moved to tomorrow (Sunday 3rd June) to give riders more practice time.

The weather held fast for Saturday’s qualifying providing near perfect conditions but was again hampered by several unfortunate racing and non-racing related incidents. Nonetheless, with lap times in excess of 130mph aboard the Tyco BMW Superbike machinery and a solid 129.24mph from a standing start during the last single lap session of the day, Hutchinson is showing himself to be once again on fine form for tomorrow’s Superbike race.

Team Manager - Philip Neill:

"To be honest this has been a difficult TT practice week for everyone with some schedule changes due to weather interruptions etc. However on a positive note we have recorded some good lap times with Hutchy and although we have had a couple of niggly little problems on the Superbike during the last two days, Ian's 129.53mph lap time on his one and only lap on the Superstock bike so far was very pleasing.

Hopefully we do get to race the RST Superbike race tomorrow and although there is some learning still to do, we hope to be at the sharp end challenging for a race win on the Tyco BMW S1000RR"

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Racing Team:

Douglas, Isle of Man. It’s been an eventful first week of practicing for the Isle of Man TT races 2017 with highs and lows for the German based BMW Motorrad Motorsport team. Whilst Manxman Dan Kneen pulled together his fastest ever laps around the Mountain Course during Saturday’s practice sessions, team mate Danny Webb was involved in a crash at Laurel Bank and remains in Nobles Hospital in Douglas. Third man on the block is Italian Alessandro “Alex” Polita, who goes into his second year at the TT and already had a competitive showing in qualifying.

This week’s practice sessions mostly had to be postponed due to bad weather conditions on the Isle of Man and so the first session was only held on Tuesday with a shortened 1,5 laps session on Wednesday and a total call off on Monday and Friday. So the decision was made early that the races will be pushed back.

Saturday saw a full whole day of practicing and the times for the first time reached a point of over 130 mph average speed.

Dan Kneen went off from a standing start to do a 130.224, which he followed with a 130.324 which were his best times around the Mountain Course. Kneen was fourth fastest in the Superbikes.

Alex Polita had a technical problem during his qualifying session but went out for another lap in the evening. A big thank you is sent by the team to the Marshalls at Milntown for helping the squad getting the bike back to the paddock as soon as possible! He ended qualifying in 49th position with a 18:53,457 minute time, which meant a speed of 119.801 mph.

Unfortunately Danny Webb – after posting a 123,3487 time – came off his bike at Laurel Bank after a misunderstanding with a slower rider in front of him, who braked more early than expected. Webb was airlifted to Nobles Hospital Douglas and initially reported with a dislocated shoulder. Further assessment showed fractures to his L1-L4 vertebrae. The scans are now sent to a specialist in Liverpool to decide on further actions. Webb will remain in Nobles hospital tonight.

The Superbike TT, the first race of the TT 2017, will commence tomorrow, Sunday, 14:00 local time, 15:00 CET..

Dan Kneen - Rider:

"Finally we got a good share of laps in today and I am more than happy with my Penz13 BMW S 1000 RR bike. We got some good setup work done today. There is, as always, room for improvement on the bike, but we’ll make some changes for tomorrow and then just go. I’ve done my fastest laps around the Mountain Course today so obviously I am very happy about this. Tomorrow is, when it counts and I am really looking forward to get racing."

Danny Webb - Rider:

"I was on my second lap of today’s practice session when I came to a back marker at Laurel Banks. He braked way more early than I had expected and this resulted in my crash. Luckily the marshals and medics were around very quickly and I also want to thank the medical team in Nobles hospital. In first we thought I only had a dislocated shoulder but further checks have revealed some fractures in my back. I’ll remain here in Nobles and wait what the specialists over in Liverpool say after they’ve seen the pics of the scans. I want to thank everyone involved in my rescue and I am fairly happy to have nothing worse from that one. Also a big thank you goes to my whole Penz13 team, that have supported me as best as they could and I am disappointed I won’t be able to take part in this year’s TT races, but I’ll be back as soon as I can."

Alessandro Polita - Rider:

"It was kind of hard to remember my way round here, when we did the first session again on Tuesday, but I got in a very good flow today. I started to push quite hard in some sections but unfortunately I broke down. I have to say a big thank you to the Marshalls there and to the team for getting my back ready for action again for tonight’s qualifying lap. Tomorrow is race day and I am excited already."

Rico Penzkofer - Team Principal:

"Finally! As every year this is the one

First of all we want to send our best wishes and a speedy recovery to Danny to Nobles hospital. He had a crash today and of course we never ever want to see anyone crash, not here at the Isle of Man TT. In the end he was very lucky and we are sure to see him back on the bike very soon. Dan Kneen is doing a mega job and so does our crew. He simply felt good on the bike and proved that with his two fastest ever laps around here. Also Alex is doing a more than solid job once more and the whole team wishes him a happy birthday today!"

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