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Images from the 2016 Isle of Man TT - Practice Week
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Dunlop leads Superbike podium lockout

Jun 042016

The set up was epic, the race was off the wall, and the result? Well it couldn’t have been better. Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness; a record breaking 1-2-3 lockout. Three podium places, three Monster athletes, and three ultra dominant performances at the greatest road race on the planet.

 

If that wasn’t enough, history was made; with race winner Michael Dunlop smashing the outright lap record of the legendary Mountain Course to clock-in the first-ever sub 17 minute lap, averaging a blistering 133.393mph.

 

Dunlop couldn’t have looked more in the zone during the race-week opening RST Superbike event, accelerating up to his record breaking pace almost instantly from a standing start on Glencrutchery Road. The 27-year-old rider then went on to take the lead from Hutchy on lap one at Glen Helen, gapping out two seconds before the tenth mile marker.

 

Come the round of pit stops on lap three, Dunlop’s engineers perfectly matched his on-road pace by refueling and fitting a new rear tyre in quick fire fashion. Nailing the throttle on his BMW Hawk Racing 1000RR Superbike at the pit exit, to fire down Bray Hill at 175mph, Dunlop’s lead further extended to 15 seconds. From lap four onwards the race turned into a straight fight to the finish, with Dunlop, Hutchy and McGuinness all circulating  within only a handful of second of each other.

Bursting across the line at the final flag, Michael indelibly wrote his name further into road racing history by claiming his 12th TT win and 20th podium at the Isle of Man. “It was a good solid first lap, the bike was working well, we had few issues in the pits, but to be honest I can’t complain,” explained Dunlop in typically understated style, not giving away the slightest sense that he had just spent nearly two hours topping 190mph on (closed) public roads.

 

“You don’t go into this game looking at everyone else, as you know they’ve got pace. You just go in with what you’ve got and get your head down. My mindset after the first lap was just to batter on and catch the guys in front, as I knew that we had the pace on the road, but also that we were the underdogs coming into the race. Overall it’s been pretty smooth.  The support I’ve had from my team is incredible – big credit to Stuart (team owner) – he said I can’t give you factory bikes but I can give you my all, and I said that was good enough for me! I feel like this is just the start in a way – I think I’ve got a 134mph or even a 135mph lap in me. I want to keep pushing and find exactly when and where it takes to go faster.”

Hutchy added: “I knew that the first race of the week was going to be the hardest race to be honest. It was the first race I’ve done on the BMW around here. Going fast in practice is very different to being quick under race conditions. My first thought was seeing my pit board at Glen Helen. So when I saw it said -2 (seconds behind the leader) I was absolutely peaking. By halfway round lap two it was only -7. We dropped around six seconds in the pit stops, so there is definitely work to be done. The chain started jumping on the rear sprocket, so I got a few false neutrals. We just tried to take it as steady as possible. I had a crisp packet hit me at Union Mills and it felt like a rock! It’s just fantastic to be up here at the first day of race week. Great job by Michael and John!”

Although King of the Mountain John McGuinness missed out on the win, a 45th podium at the world’s fastest road race is nothing short of incredible. The performance from the TT’s current serving No.1 sets things up perfectly for blistering races in the upcoming Superbike, Supersport, and TT Zero this week.

 

 

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