Michael Dunlop Lays Down The Gauntlet in Final TT Practice

by James Charman

Michael Dunlop will go in to the opening race day of the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races as a clear favourite following a strong final qualifying session.

The Ballymoney rider, who took four TT wins in 2013, set a lap of 131.501mph in the final session, a personal best and only 1.3 seconds off the outright lap record. Bruce Anstey was the second fastest rider on a Superbike machine, followed by Guy Martin and 20-time TT winner, John McGuinness.

Gary Johnson took the advantage in the Superstock class with a 130.207mph lap, with Michael Dunlop, Dean Harrison, James Hillier and Michael Rutter rounding out the top five placings.

Johnson was also the fastest on the Supersport machines, although most riders opted to take their 1000cc bikes out in the near-perfect conditions around the 37.73 mile Snaefell course. Johnson took his Triumph around the lap at 125.934mph, a clear lead over William Dunlop‘s best lap of 124.475mph and Keith Amor‘s 124.356mph.

The Sidecar category once again saw Dave Molyneux and Patrick Farrance top the times, although John Holden and Andy Winkle were hot on their trail. Conrad Harrison and Mike Alyott were third, followed Tim Reeves and Gregory Cluze.

Finally, the TT Zero bikes were given one lap to practice at the very end of the session, with fans eagerly awaiting the battle between McGuinness and Anstey. Unfortunately Anstey’s lap came to an end with technical problems at Quarterbridge, however McGuinness piled on the pressure as he set a stunning lap of 111.904mph.

Racing begins today (Saturday 31 May) at 11am with the 6 lap Superbike TT, followed by the first of the 3 lap Sidecar races at 2pm.

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