Windy conditions slow speeds at IOM TT

Michael Dunlop the only top rider to improve Superbike ranking with a move up to sixth place after jumping on the Buildbase BMW

With morning rain having cleared, dry roads and clear skies greeted competitors for Friday evening’s practice session at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy, but increasing winds would be problematical throughout the evening.

The paddock was already aware that Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson had announced a change to the proposed race schedule with Saturday’s RST Superbike moving to Sunday due to a near gale forecast for the Isle of Man.

The F2 sidecars to go away first and, as with previous sessions, the outfits left the line in numerical order with Dave Molyneux/Ben Binns, Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott, Ben and Tom Birchall, Tim Reeves/Patrick Farrance and John Holden/Dan Sayle the first five crews to head towards Bray Hill.

Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Dave Molyneux and Benjamin Binns
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Dave Molyneux and Benjamin Binns

Molyneux led the lap all the way round and was first across the line at 113.12 with Harrison next quickest at 111.96. Holden went to the top of the leaderboard with a speed of 113.22 but pulled in immediately to make adjustments to his suspension. Reeves had a slow lap at 104.91 but the Birchalls fared even worse at 90.65 and clearly had problems.

Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn and Karl Bennett/Lee Cain posted almost identical times at 109.58 and 109.55 respectively, the former reporting blustery winds over the Mountain.

Molyneux continued straight through for a second lap and went quickest at 114.687, just a whisker outside Holden’s fastest lap of the week set on Thursday. Reeves, who was running in an engine in on his first lap, posted a speed of 113.30 with Gary Knight/Jason Crowe (109.16) and Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Milligan (108.57) also showing well.

Holden failed to go quicker on his second lap but Knight continued for a third lap and improved again to 109.67.

At 7.22pm, it was the turn of the Supersport and Lightweight machines with Lee Johnston, Ian Hutchinson, Keith Amor, Conor Cummins, Michael Rutter, Gary Johnon, William Dunlop and John McGuinness the first to leave the line. All were 600cc mounted with the exception of Rutter who was again out on the Paton.

Hutchinson was first back at 123.13 followed by Johnston on 119.85 and Johnson 117.49. McGuinness went quickest briefly with a speed of 123.99 but that fellow Honda rider Anstey bettered that with 124.36. Speeds fluctuated though with William and Michael Dunlop and Dan Kneen all in the 115-117mph bracket.

Bruce Anstey still tops the Supersport charts on combined times due to his 125.218mph lap on Wednesday. Despite the windy conditions however Ian Hutchinson, John McGuinness and Dean Harrison all managed to put in their fastest Supersport lap of TT week so far.

James Hillier was the quickest Lightweight at 113.74 as Rutter pulled in with a broken steering damper but Jamie Hamilton’s second lap of 115.74 sent him top.

Second time around for the 600s and speeds were up too as Hutchinson improved to 124.92. It was close at the top of the leaderboard though with McGuinness, the two Dunlops and Dean Harrison all breaking the 124mph mark.

IOM TT 2015 – Supersport – Combined Times up to and including Friday qualifying
  1. Bruce Anstey – Honda – 125.218 (wed)
  2. Ian Hutchinson – Yamaha – 124.297 (fri)
  3. John McGuinness – Honda – 124.480 (fri)
  4. Dean Harrison – Yamaha – 124.538 (fri)
  5. Gary Johnson – Yamaha – 124.307 (thu)
  6. William Dunlop – Yamaha – 124.260 (fri)
  7. Michael Dunlop – Honda – 124.223 (fri)
  8. Lee Johnston – Triumph – 123.785 (fri)
  9. Guy Martin – Triumph – 123.082 (wed)
  10. Keith Amor – Honda – 122.684 (fri)

The 1000cc machines were let out on the Mountain Course shortly after 8pm with Martin Jessopp away first on the Riders BMW soon followed by Guy Martin (Tyco BMW), Hutchinson (PBM Kawasaki) and William Dunlop (Tyco BMW).

Martin was first back at 127.861 with Michael Dunlop’s opening lap on the BMW Superbike only slightly slower at 127.755. However, Bruce Anstey again showed his race winning credentials with a speed of 129.394 to jump to the top of the leaderboard.

Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Michael Dunlop
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Michael Dunlop

No one managed to get close to Anstey’s lap second time around although Dan Kneen did improve to almost 126mph. One man who did get over the 126mph mark was Dean Harrison who’s lap of 126.59 made him the quickest Superstock on the night. Gary Johnson was out of luck though pulling in on the exit of Ballaugh village.

Michael Dunlop, now on the BMW, was the only one of the top Superbike riders to improve on their time set earlier on in the week, his 128.636 good enough for second quickest behind Anstey on Friday.

Despite Anstey topping the Friday charts, it is still Kawasaki’s Ian Hutchinson that leads the way for the week thus far, ahead of John McGuinness, Bruce Anstey, William Dunlop and Guy Martin, while Michael Dunlop has moved into sixth after getting onboard the Buildbase BMW for the first time.

Michael Dunlop had started TT week with Milwaukee Yamaha but sensationally walked out on the Yamaha squad to ride a BMW, the 26-year-old unhappy with the speed of the new YZF-R1.

Rumours had been circulating for some time that Dunlop had been unhappy with Yamaha after their troublesome outing at the Northwest 200, but that all came to a head on Wednesday night after Dunlop only managed to post a 124mph lap on the Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1. Dunlop simply wheeled his own BMW out of his van for the Superstock sessions on Thursday, going straight to the top of the Superstock 1000 charts. Phone calls to the mainland were made and Buildbase BMW started preparing a machine for Dunlop before transporting it to the ferry terminal, where team technicians continued to work on the machine on the wharf while waiting for the ferry, with the machine finally making it onto the Isle of Man late Thursday night. Despite only throwing a leg over the Buildbase BMW Superbike for the first time on Friday, Dunlop is already on the pace and will be a serious threat come Sunday.

IOM TT 2015 – Superbike – Combined Times up to and including Friday qualifying
  1. Ian Hutchinson – Kawasaki – 130.266 (thu)
  2. John McGuinness – Honda – 130.030 (thu)
  3. Bruce Anstey – Honda – 129.957 (thu)
  4. William Dunlop – BMW – 129.419 (thu)
  5. Guy Martin – BMW – 128.963 (thu)
  6. Michael Dunlop – BMW – 128.636 (fri)
  7. Michael Rutter – BMW – 128.529 (thu)
  8. Conor Cummins – Honda – 128.331 (thu)
  9. Jamie Hamilton – Suzuki – 127.752 (thu)
  10. Gary Johnson – Kawasaki – 127.257 (wed)
  11. Dean Harrison – Yamaha – 127.120 (thu)
  12. Dan Kneen – Honda – 126.894 (thu)
  13. Ryan Farquhar – Kawasaki – 126.568 (thu)
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Michael Dunlop
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Michael Dunlop

In Superstock 100o the situation was much the same as while Dean Harrison topped Friday all the top runners set their fastest time on Thursday and failed to improve on Friday due to the windy conditions. Michael Dunlop remains fastest in Superstock despite not hitting the track on his Superstock machine on Friday.

IOM TT 2015 – Superstock – Combined Times up to and including Friday qualifying
  1. Michael Dunlop – BMW – 129.659 (thu)
  2. Ian Hutchinson – Kawasaki – 128.308 (thu)
  3. David Johnson – BMW – 127.470 (thu)
  4. James Hillier – Kawasaki – 127.127 (thu)
  5. Bruce Anstey – Honda – 127.045 (thu)
  6. Lee Johnston – BMW – 126.759 (thu)
  7. William Dunlop – BMW – 126.744 (thu)
  8. John McGuinness – Honda – 126.486 (thu)
  9. Dean Harrison – Yamaha – 126.461 (thu)
  10. Peter Hickman – BMW – 126.122 (thu)
  11. Guy Martin – BMW – 125.985 (thu)

At the end of the evening a few of the Zero machines also had their first outing ahead of Wednesday’s SES TT Zero with lap record holder John McGuinness showing the form that saw him triumph in last year’s race with a lap of 113mph although his Mugen Shinden teammate Bruce Anstey broke down.  The Victory Racing pair of William Dunlop and Lee Johnston both posted hugely impressive debut laps of 105.185 and 104.185 respectively.

Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - William Dunlop Victory TT Zero
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – William Dunlop Victory TT Zero
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - All Sessions Combined - Superbike
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – All Sessions Combined – Superbike
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - All Sessions Combined - Superstock
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – All Sessions Combined – Superstock
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - All Sessions Combined - Supersport
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – All Sessions Combined – Supersport
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - All Sessions Combined - Sidecar
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – All Sessions Combined – Sidecar
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - All Sessions Combined - Lightweight
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – All Sessions Combined – Lightweight
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Superbike
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Superbike
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Superstock
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Superstock
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Supersport
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Supersport
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Sidecar
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Sidecar
Isle of Man TT 2015 - Friday Qualifying - Lightweight
Isle of Man TT 2015 – Friday Qualifying – Lightweight