Dunlop throws down the gauntlet to his rivals


Michael Dunlop set the famous Isle of Man TT Mountain Course alight on Thursday evening by dominating in both the Superbike and Superstock classes.

Dunlop managed to set the first 132mph+ lap of the week on his Hawk Racing BMW as he topped the Superbike session with a 132.34mph.

The Ulsterman also managed to complete a 131.34mph in the Superstock class – which was an unofficial lap record.

The start of the evening saw the likes of Ian Hutchinson, Gary Johnson and John McGuinness getting out onto the course early.

Elsewhere Ivan Lintin and Steve Mercer came past the grandstand for the first time with laps of 127.76 and 127.97 respectively.

Hutchinson was the first man to go past the 130mph mark – with a 131.66mph lap. David Johnson was putting in a great performance on his Norton machine, setting the best-ever lap for the British manufacturer with a 127.30mph.

Peter Hickman’s evening was disrupted when the MCE British Superbike rider was forced to pull over on the approach to Kirk Michael.

On his second lap Hutchinson was looking like he was about to crack the 132mph barrier but was unable to keep up with the pace during the second half of the lap – ending with a 131.11mph.

McGuinness set his best time of the week moments later with a 131.12mph, with Norton’s Johnson posting an impressive 127.74mph.

While this was going on, Dunlop had switched to his BMW Superbike machine and put in a blinding lap of 132.34mph.

Bruce Anstey retired from the session soon after, following a crash at Keppel Gate. Reports suggest that the rider is unhurt, but he was still taken for a check-up via the Airmed.

With the Superbike and Superstock session out of the way the Lightweights headed out and joined the Supersport guys on the course.

Lee Johnstone went to the top of the week’s Supersport leaderboard following a lap of 124.84mph, with Michael Rutter hitting the top of the Lightweights with a 118.054mph.

One of the favourites for Wednesday’s race, James Hillier, had a frustrating session after failing to get a lap in due to a stoppage at Appledene.