IOMTT: Friday qualifying round-up

by Emily Macbeth

The beginning of the Isle of Man TT has been hampered by bad weather conditions. But for Friday’s qualifying sessions, the weather was finally perfect.

Ian Hutchinson topped the Superstock session, with a speed of 129.535mph on his BMW even after making a temporary stop at Governor’s Bridge. Bruce Anstey topped the Superbike session on his Honda RCV, with a speed of 129.212mph.

Dan Kneen made a stop at Quarter Bridge, but was soon back out on his Superstock machinery. Unfortunately, the Norton duo of David Johnson and Josh Brookes had no such luck, as both were forced to retire.

Peter Hickman was the first rider to complete a lap, at 128.028mph, as Hutchison stopped at Governors. It seemed that everyone was lapping over 127mph, with Gary Johnson, James Hillier, Michael Dunlop, Conor Cummins, Michael Rutter, Dean Harrison and Bruce Anstey all putting in laps over the mark.

In the Lightweight class, Stefano Bonetti set the fastest lap so far, with a speed of 115.69mph on the Paton, with his team mate Rutter just a fraction slower, with a lap of 114.28mph. Hickman slotted in behind Bonetti on his KMR/IEG Kawasaki, with a speed of 114.86mph, from Dan Cooper (114.79mph) and Lee Johnston (114.73mph).

Steve Mercer suffered a fall at the 11th milestone and was flown to nearby Nobles hospital, with injuries that were described as minor. Frank Gallagher also fell at the Gooseneck, but got away lightly with broken teeth and was taken back to the paddock in the course car.

These incidents saw a short delay to the start of the Sidecar session, with Ben and Tom Birchall leading the way until retirement at Crosby. The Birchall’s retirement meant that seasoned Sidecar racers Dave Molyneux Dan Sayle had a clear road ahead of them, managing to set a quick lap of 113.001mph, only slightly faster than Tim Reeves Mark Wilkes.

At the end of the session, Molyneux Sayle held the fastest lap of the week so far, at 114.74mph. Reeves Wilkes were just behind them with a lap at 114.35mph and John Holden Lee Cain were third quickest with a speed at 112.085mph.

In the TT Zero class, the Mugen team is usually the one to beat. They had set their stalls out earlier with Anstey recording a speed of 109.520mph, and Guy Martin setting a speed of 108.413mph. They were undoubtedly the quickest pair, however a notable performance from Adam Child who completed the first production electric bike lap, recording a speed of 74.786mph on the Energica machinery.

The schedule for the TT has changed throughout the week, with the RST Superbike race 1 set to run on Sunday.

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