The iconic Isle of Man TT races kick off this week and we’ve sent our man Adam ‘Chad’ Child along to practice week to get the lowdown on how things have been going in practice week…
It’s been a difficult practice week, with the weather being the major talking point. High winds and heavy rain have caused major disruption and very little track time for all the competitors. We spoke to TT legend John McGuinness, who said: “I’ve never known it this bad. We’ve missed a few nights of practice here and there in the past, but it has never been like this. Tuesday night’s condition was bad, and last night’s (Sunday) were some of the worst conditions I’ve ever ridden in, and I’ve done around 50,000miles
around the TT”.
The organisers have tried their utmost to get the practice laps in, but just when it looked like there was a possibility, the low cloud would hang over the mountain causing the practice to be cancelled. It proved to be a frustrating week, for the organisers, race fans, and teams alike. The electric TT Zero teams had to wait until Sunday before turning a wheel, and the sidecars had very limited track time, ahead of Monday’s proposed race.
Ahead of the Superbike race, which is now set to be held on Monday (June 3), Conor Cummins set the fastest lap of Sunday’s practice onboard his Padgett’s Honda with a best lap of 128.923mph. Dean Harrison was a fraction behind, just five seconds, 128.292mph average. The practice was held in ‘difficult’ conditions, with riders complaining of damp patches and strong winds all around the TT course. Dean couldn’t match his time of 129.53mph which was set on Tuesday Night’s practice.
David Johnson set the third fastest lap of the evening, his Honda Racing Fireblade averaging 128.236mph, just a fraction behind Harrison. Michael Rutter was fourth, with Jamie Coward continuing to impress in fifth position, with a best lap of 127.215mph. Despite a fast crash on Tuesday night at the 11th Milestone, Ian Hutchinson bravely ventured back on his Superbike to lap at 121.953mph, but again not matching his time set on Tuesday of 125.390mph
A noticeable absentee from the top five on Sunday evening practice was Michael Dunlop who stopped on lap one at Mountain Box and was unable to get back to the pits to jump on his Superstock or Supersport machine. John McGuinness made progress, lapping quicker than previously and edging into the top ten with a best lap of 124.717, despite the unfavourable conditions.
RST Superbike Overall qualifying – All Sessions
Dean Harrison 129.531 (Tuesday)
Conor Cummins 128.923 (Sunday)
David Johnson 128.236 (Sunday)
James Hillier 128.075 (Tuesday)
Michael Rutter 127.547 (Sunday)
Jamie Coward 127.215 (Sunday)
Michael Dunlop 126.929 (Tuesday)
Philip Crowe 125.515 (Tuesday)
Ian Hutchinson 125.390 (Tuesday)
Daley Mathison 125.173 (Tuesday)
On Sunday, outright lap record holder Peter Hickman lapped at 128.499mph, more than 11 seconds quicker than his closest rival, the Honda mounted Conor Cummins (127.171mph). Hickman set his fastest time from a standing start.
The third fastest was Gary Johnson on his RAF Regular + Reserves/Lee Hardy Racing Kawasaki, 124.971mph. BMW mounted Brian McCormick, who isn’t seeded this year (not in the top 20) was impressive in fourth, position with James Hillier rounding off the top five.
Noticeable highlights were New Zealander Jay Lawrence, who set the ninth fastest lap of the evening on his Buildbase Suzuki/Carl Cox Motorsport machine.
This is only Jay’s second visit to the Island, after making his debut at the Classic TT last year.
Dean Harrison remains the fastest rider in the Superstock class, with the best time of 129.336mph set on Tuesday night in more favourable conditions.
Superstock overall times
Dean Harrison 129.336 (Tuesday)
Peter Hickman 128.49 (Sunday)
Conor Cummins 127.171 (Sunday)
David Johnson 126.629 (Tuesday)
Garry Johnson 124.971 (Sunday)
On the last qualifying session before Monday’s proposed race, Lee Johnston pipped Gary Johnson to take the fastest time of the night at
122.926mph, with Triumph-mounted Gary lapping at 122.590mph. James Hillier, running for the Carole Nash-backed Bournemouth Kawasaki squad, edged into the top three a best time of 122.024mph. Jamie Coward shone again,, setting the fourth fastest lap of the evening at 121.335mph. Dean Harrison was fifth and Ian Hutchinson, recovering from his high-speed crash on Tuesday evening, edged into the top six with a best lap of 121.132mph.
However, due to the poor conditions, nobody got close to Dean Harrison’s time set on Sunday night of 126.09mph. Michael Dunlop couldn’t set a time on his Supersport machine, after getting stuck on the mountain after his Tyco BMW broke down at Mountain Box. However, his time of 123.90mph set on Sunday night’s practice still stands as the third fastest of the week so far, behind Peter Hickman who set his fastest lap on Tuesday night.
John McGuinness set the 12th fastest time of Sunday’s practice with a best lap of 117.770mph, but again noticeable slower than his time set on Tuesday of 119.87mph which puts him 16th overall.
Monster Supersport Qualifying – all sessions
Dean Harrison 126.094 (Sunday 26th May)
Peter Hickman 123.917 (Tuesday)
Michael Dunlop 123.899 (Sunday 26th may)
Conor Cummins 123.714 (Sunday 16th May)
Jamie Coward 123.18 (Sunday 26th may)
In addition to the three main classes, racing will also feature sidecars, Lightweights (two-cylinder bikes up to 650cc) and TT Zero, for electric motorcycles.