In true renegade comeback style Michael Dunlop got up and dusted himself off, after the disappointment of retiring from the first Superbike TT of 2017, by destroying the competition in the first Monster Energy Supersport race.
Claiming his 14th career TT win in dominant style, the 28 year old Northern Irishman took the win ahead of second placed James Hillier by 13 seconds, and Peter Hickman in third. The awesome result now means Dunlop pulls level in the all time winners list with legendary Isle of Man TT rider Mike Hailwood.
After the scorching conditions of the race-week opening Superbike Sunday, which saw Ian Hutchinson claim the win, conditions for the inaugural Supersport race were tricky to say the least. Overnight rain had damped down the 37.73 mile mountain course, leaving treacherous patches of tarmac lurking under shaded parts of the circuit. None of this put Dunlop off however, who charged off the line on Glencrutchery road, clocking a staggering 126mph average speed on his first flying lap of the race.
“It’s great to be on the podium after yesterday’s disappointment. It’s been a long time coming; the 600’s have been off the boil for us for a while. I’m delighted to be up here again,” explained Michael. “I had a bit of a slow start, I think we just picked the wrong rear tyre to be honest.
“The road was damp in parts, but I just settled into the race nicely after the first half of the lap. I was down a little after the first few sectors; so on and then I thought it was time to up-the-ante. After the pit stop I had pulled about 10 seconds, so I knew that we had a bit of a cushion. On the last lap I really rolled off, just to be cautious more than anything.
“After yesterday’s Superbike race I was as sick as dog – I really thought we had pulled it off and I had the pace to win. So I didn’t want to jeopardize anything in today’s race by over stressing the bike. I just focused on making every gear change and not going too deep into the shadows and damp, and getting it home safe. We were down in the mouth yesterday, but all of the team really worked hard and pulled back strong. It gets the week going properly for us now – we just stood up again and made today count!”
It was something of a role reversal for Ian Hutchinson however in today’s Supersport race. The Bingley Bullet ran a consistent 5th place on his stealth black M-Claw liveried McAms Yamaha R6. By his own admission the 15-time TT winner ran a conservative race, unwilling to take risks in the difficult conditions.
“It didn’t really go our way today to be honest; which is a big shame; and I’m pretty disappointed. There wasn’t anything in particular to blame – it was just a combination of lots of factors – the conditions, not getting the set up exactly right on the bike, and maybe being slightly over cautious. It was wet around Hillberry, Glen Helen and Ramsey, and I just didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances.
“The Mountain section was alright – and I enjoyed riding over there this afternoon. After the Superbikes, riding the 600’s is always a little more fun; because they aren’t trying tear your arms off. We’ll look at the data and come back stronger”
Racing continues with tomorrow with the four lap Superstock TT, followed by the the second Monster Energy Supersport race on Wednesday 7th, and the blue riband event ending Senior TT on Friday 6th. Full results from the Monster Energy Supersport Race One are available, here.