John McGuinness and Dave Molyneux demonstrated their class on the Isle of Man TT mountain course by topping the timesheets in Monday qualifying. The pair boast a combined 31 race victories at the TT and finished top of the pile in the Superbike and Sidecar classes respectively.
For McGuinness it was his first taste of the circuit this year after he sat out Saturday's session and the 40 year old's campaign didn't get off to the best start as a problem on his Superbike caused him to pit, switching to his Superstock machine. When his Honda Fireblade was fixed, McGuinness, fittingly riding for the Honda TT Legends squad, set a 126.116mph lap putting him second behind Cameron Donald.
Just 1.81s separated the two on the stopwatch until the dying minutes when McGuinness improved by over 17 seconds from his previous run, giving him provisional pole position overnight. James Hillier was looking set to finish the evening in third but late improvements from Bruce Anstey, who led the first Superbike race last year before crashing out, and Simon Andrews demoted him to fifth.
|2012 Isle of Man TT: Monday Round-Up|
|Superbike Classification (Top 3)|
|Superstock Classification (Top 3)|
|Supersport Classification (Top 3)|
|Sidecar Classification (Top 3)|
In the sidecar class, Dave Molyneux and Patrick Farrance were quickest for the second session running after improving by 11 seconds over their Saturday best. Their lead wasn't as comprehensive as before though with Tim Reeves and Dan Sayle more than halving the deficit from day one. Their performance was particularly impressive given the fact it was their first run together, Reeves' original partner Dipash Chauhan having withdrawn through injury. Sayle is a known quantity at the TT though, having won in the past alongside Klaus Klaffenbock.
From second on Saturday, Conrad Harrison and Mike Aylott dropped to third in second practice while Ben and Tom Birchall slipped to fourth in the combined classification after crashing at Brandywell.
Having set the pace in the Superbike class, Honda TT Legends also finished on top of Superstock thanks to a 124.772mph lap from Simon Andrews. James Hillier was just three seconds adrift on the Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki with Cameron Donald, Michael Dunlop and local rider Dan Kneen also in contention. The latter put in a lap of 122.768mph despite the low sun causing visibility problems in closing stages of the session.
Competing in his sixth TT, William Dunlop is still searching for his first win but the Ulsterman made the perfect start in Supersport by setting the fastest time for Wilson Craig Racing, edging out teammate Cameron Donald. The standout performance came from Ian Hutchinson who went fifth fastest for Swan Yamaha on his return to the mountain course after injury cruelly ruled him out 12 months ago.