2023 Isle of Man TT Results
Superstock TT Race One – Three Laps
Michael Dunlop has his groove and looks to be very happy with his race package for TT 2023. As a result he has two wins from two starts so far, another Supersport TT win and Superbike TT win under his belt to match John McGuinness on 23 wins, and all at a relatively young 34-years-old. On Sunday Dunlop took Honda’s first Superbike TT win since 2015, when kiwi Bruce Anstey piloted a Fireblade to victory.
Conversely Peter Hickman, the king of the TT in recent times, has had a bit of a shitter of a week. Ongoing problems with the FHO BMW, including no quick-shifter in the Superbike TT, and various other set-up issues has had him on the back foot a little.
The clutch lever on many of these race bikes is a bit of an afterthought and placed in a far from amenable position to use during the race, as they don’t use the clutch during the race unless pulling in or taking off.
A rear brake lever is generally where the clutch lever conventionally would be, thus having to use the clutch is quite cumbersome. When the down-shift auto-blipper is also on the blink, like it was for Hickman, that makes things a bit tougher again while trying to use an awkwardly placed clutch lever while also bracing yourself under braking, thus we saw Hicky doing the ‘funky chicken’ under brakes during the Superbike TT.
It was blatantly obvious to anyone watching that his shifting electronics were on the blink.This isn’t the first time this has happened either so they will be searching for a solution and also perhaps changing some things to help accommodate manual use of the clutch should it go on the blink again. For the uninitiated, it is the downshifts where the electronics really help out along with a well tuned engine braking strategy.
Notwithstanding those problems Hickman had come within a whisper of breaking the all-time lap record on his final lap. What would that lap have been if everything on the FHO BMW worked as designed…?
Not that Hickman was on his Pat Malone when it came to problems.A surprising amount of riders were having ongoing brake issues throughout the 364 kilometre Superbike TT. Due to the bumpy nature of the circuit the pads are getting pushed right back in the calipers which is forcing riders to repeatedly pump their brakes back up prior to their braking points.Not the most confidence inspiring thing to be doing while heading for a jagged stone wall or side of a building…
In today’s three-lap RL360 Superstock they only have half that distance to cover so this is just about a sprint race, albeit a 182 kilometre sprint race… So still more than 1.5 times the distance of a MotoGP race, or about five times as long as an Australian Superbike race.
Dean Harrison ran Dunlop and Hicky pretty close on Sunday, with fourth-placed James Hillier a long way back. Hillier really struggled with braking issues but did manage to set the fastest ever lap of the TT course by a Yamaha during the Superbike bout.
Harrison has generally been Hickman’s bridesmaid in recent times and only breaking through for a win when Hicky has had major bike problems. The Kawasaki looks to turn really well and has good speed so he will be confident of podium pace.
Davey Todd had been right in the mix early on before bike problems saw him retire on lap three. He should be hot to trot today. Likewise Jamie Coward and Dominic Herbertson are going faster than they ever have before, and Craig Neve was waiting for something to go his way.
Josh Brookes is yet to go as fast as did some years and has been building back to speed during the week, but a seventh place for the Aussie behind John McGuinness in the Superbike TT was a good start along with a 131 mph lap on the FHO BMW. If things were to go his way Brookesy would have been aiming for much better than seventh today but the two-time British Superbike Champion didn’t even make the first timing marker before retiring from the race.
John McGuinness was in the 131s during practice and put in three 130 mph laps in the Superbike TT, he is the quickest he has been for more than six years which suggests McPint is up for it.
“I rode as hard as I could and although I haven’t got the pace of the leaders – Michael, Peter and Dean (Harrison) are riding unbelievably well – I hit every apex and thoroughly enjoyed the entire 226-mile race. Conditions have been the best they’ve been for years, we had two great pit stops and I feel like I’m riding better than I have done for a while.”
McGuinness looks fitter than he has been for some time and the TT’s greatest ambassador is certain to put on a good show. I am not sure if Dunlop winning races on a Honda takes a bit of pressure off John, or adds more…
Conor Cummins had picked up a virus in the lead up to qualifying week and the lanky Manxman was ruled out of the weekend races but fronted up on the grid for the Superstock TT.
Superstock TT Race Report
It was a foggy and misty morning at the Isle of Man as teams did their final fettling ahead of the three-lap RL360 Superstock TT that kicked off Tuesday’s race program at TT 2023. Also on the card today is the opening SuperTwin bout of race week.
Proceedings were delayed by three hours as the fine mist persisted and the reduced visibility was not conducive to the safe operation of the helicopters. The mist also hid the sun and the forecast 20-degree temperature that we were led to expect today across the Isle of Man but once the mist lifted the sun burnt through to reveal a stunning afternoon.
Peter Hickman was on it was soon as they got away and in no time the standard operating procedure was in play, Hickman leading Dunlop and Harrison.
Josh Brookes made it only literally metres, the Aussie had parked his BMW by St. Ninians.
An opening lap of 133.979mph gave his FHO BMW team-mate a 2.7 second lead over Dunlop as he came into the pits for his mandatory pit stop.
There was drama when Dominic Herbertson missed the pit entrance. He and Rutter were locked in a fierce contest on the road (Herberston later claimed Rutter braked unexpectedly early and he had to take evasive action to the right). Dom-the-bom had to loop round the return road and ride back up to the pit gate.
There he argued his case before getting stuck back into the race. (The incident is under review at the time of going to press). Rutter was making his 83rd TT start, matching his father Tony’s record in the process.
Hickman lost some time as he tried to find a way by Todd on the road, with Harrison still in third. Likewise, Dunlop was held up a little by James Hillier at Rhencullen.
Hickman regained that ground on the road and continued to pull away, by half-race distance the FHO BMW rider led Dunlop by almost ten-seconds. By the last lap board the gap was out to 15-seconds, with another ten-seconds back to Harrison in third.Davey Todd fourth, Jamie Coward fifth and James Hillier sixth.
David Johnson held up Peter Hickman for a while after Glen Helen which cost the BMW rider a fair bit of time but by Ballaugh Hicky had his advantage over Dunlop back out to 17-seconds. By Ramsey Hairpin Hickman led Dunlop by over 20-seconds.
Through the latter stages of the final lap, even as early as Creg ny Baa, Peter Hickman was messing about and pulling wheelies for the crowd. He did the same through Cronk ny Mona and on every straight he was pulling monster mingers everywhere but still took victory by more than 23-seconds over Dunlop.
Despite mucking about with wheelies and playing up to the crowd on that final lap Hickman recorded a 134.331 mph lap on that final 37.73 mile run around the Snaefell Mountain Course.
The Superstock win opens Hickman’s account for 2023 and also marked his tenth IOMTT race victory and he now sits level with Giacamo Agostini, Stanley Woods and Rob Fisher in the all-time standings.
Dean Harrison a further 15-seconds back in third but with a handy 23-second buffer over Davey Todd, who in-turn had nine-seconds on fifth placed James Hillier.
The battle for fifth was where much of the excitement had played out as Coward, Hillier and Cummins fought furiously for bragging rights. Cummins was not long out of his hospital bed as a mystery illness had struck him down and ruined his TT so far; a real ‘a kick in the teeth’ for the Manx man. Now up-and-at-em, the two-metre man had a fair crack at it in the early stages before understandably starting to flag and dropping behind Hillier and Coward.
Hillier and Coward suffered no such problems and were locked together in combat- a contest that rarely saw them separated by any more than a second with the 10s starting gap remaining almost intact on the road throughout. In the end, Hillier took control at Ramsey on the final lap and brought his OMG Yamaha home ahead of Coward and Cummins.
David Johnson put in his best lap of the week on the final lap, a 130.592 mph circuit, to secure eighth place and make it five Honda’s in the top eight.
David Johnson – P8
“I’m happy with that both in terms of the result and the 130 mph lap and it’s a lot closer to where we need to be. We completely changed the rear shock for the race and the handling was like night and day compared to earlier in the week; we’re still down a bit on top speed but I could ride the bike how I wanted and get a rest on some parts of the course, rather than it being a handful from start to finish. It was a fast race and to finish with a 130.5 mph lap is pleasing and puts us in better shape for the rest of the week.”
Mike Browne and Shaun Anderson completed the top 10.
John McGuinness stopped on the mountain on the final lap.
“Race two was going well for us, weather conditions were mint and the bike was working really really well again. I’ve had a bit of a mental block with this bike. The superstock bike is mint and there is nothing wrong with it but it has taken me a while to get my eye in and ride it how it needs riding.That last lap would’ve been a strong lap, we were heading for a good top-ten finish which would’ve been a nice little result for us all. But, something has failed, and it’s disappointing for us all.If I was a 25-year-old it wouldn’t bother me so much, but at my age, I want to grab every single finish that I can get. Especially around the silver replica trophy area, that’s where I want to be. It’s super disappointing for everybody because the Honda is super strong in the race, there were six Honda’s in the top ten at one point. It would’ve been a nice little result. I’m not going to cry about it, we will sweep that one under the table and move on.”
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