2023 Isle of Man TT Results
RST Superbike Race – Six Laps
It was a picture perfect day here at the Isle of Man as riders and teams put the final touches on their motorcycles ahead of the six-lap RST Superbike race on a truly sensational Sunday afternoon.
In recent years Peter Hickman has had the edge here over everyone but Dean Harrison has been oh so close and managed to get one over Hickman.
Michael Dunlop has not recently had the speed to run with that pair, for whatever reason, but this year the Northern Irishman seems to have his ducks in a row across every category. Be that his Honda Superbike and Superstock Fireblades, his Yamaha YZF-R6 Supersport machine, or the delectable Paton he is riding in SuperTwin, the 34-year-old has dominated proceedings as qualifying week wore on, then controlled the Supersport race on Saturday to take his 22nd TT victory. Dunlop also set a new fastest ever lap around the Isle of Man Mountain Course on Friday with a 135.531 mph that really made people sit up and take notice and places him as firm favourite for 2023 honours.
In comparison Peter Hickman has looked far from settled with his FHO BMW.The bike is apparently making close to 250 horsepower and proving quite a handful for the 36-year-old. Still, he must have been starting to get on top of it after pushing out a 134.910 mph lap on the final day of qualifying.But he is still far from content with the handling of the M 1000 RR this week.
Dean Harrison was a couple of tenths from his best ever lap, set during last year’s Superbike TT.A 134.216 the best for the DAO Kawasaki man.
Davey Todd was fourth quickest, 132.194 mph on the Milenco Padgett’s Honda.
Josh Brookes had steadily built up speed all week and is racing a Superstock spec’ FHO BMW in both Superbike, the Senior and Superstock TT races. His best this week a 131.098 mph lap. The Aussie’s best ever lap is 131.8 and he expects to surpass that when racing gets underway.
Next quickest was John McGuinness who set his fastest lap here in more than six years, a 131.003 mph on the Honda a big shot in the arm for the TT legend that suggests there’s life in the old dog yet.
Jamie Coward was also in the 130 club this week to qualify seventh ahead of Rob Hodson, David Johnson, Michael Rutter and James Hillier.
David Johnson is riding a Superstock spec’ C&L Fairburn Jackson Racing Fireblade in all the big bike contests.
Fellow Aussie Rennie Scaysbrook had a nightmare qualifying week with Wilson Craig Honda which saw the Pikes Peak winner make a last minute change to a Team Kibosh BMW.
With Michael Dunlop on fire this week Honda fans were looking forward to breaking BMW’s stranglehold on the Superbike TT. The last time a Fireblade won a Superbike TT was back in 2015 with Bruce Anstey. In recent times Dunlop has contested the big bike categories on BMW and Suzuki in recent times but 2023 is his first time on a Honda for a decade in Superbike. However, he has ridden a Superstock Fireblade as recently as last year.
The Superbike TT was named as such in 2005, replacing the previous Formula 1 TT.
The six-lap race distance a brutal 364 kilometres which will batter the riders for around one-hour and 45-minutes… A merciless test of both man and machine.
David Johnson was the first man released down Glencrutchery Road but once all riders got up to speed it was Michael Dunlop quickest ahead of Dean Harrison through the opening sector. Davey Todd was third quickest and quickly overhauled Josh Brookes on the road to underline his pace from the off.
Michael Dunlop went through Sulby at over 200 mph the first time through and led Harrison by almost five-seconds at that point of the course. Peter Hickman then moved up to third place after bettering Davey Todd but the Honda man took third place back by Bungalow.
John McGuinnes waved Dunlop past him with a leg dangle after Creg Ny Baa and Dunlop crossed the stripe for the first time to record a 134.519 mph new Superbike lap record, and from a standing start.
Hickman was back up to third place by the time they started lap two, demoting Davey Todd to fourth once again. Dean Harrison was six-seconds behind Dunlop.James Hillier fifth, Jamie Coward sixth, John McGuinness seventh. Josh Brookes eighth at the end of lap one ahead of Dominic Herbertson, Shaun Anderson and David Johnson.
Josh Brookes went well wide near Glen Helen to allow his FHO BMW team-mate Peter Hickman a clear run past him after starting 30-seconds behind him on the road.
As they came in for their first pit stops at the end of lap two Michael Dunlop led Harrison by 14.6-seconds and Peter Hickman was a further six-seconds behind in third but now with a handy buffer over Davey Todd. Dunlop’s second lap a 135.046 to lower the lap record further.
As the race wore on James Hillier started to inch closer to Davey Todd and had eclipsed the Honda man by Ramsey on lap three to move into that fourth place. At this juncture Dunlop led Harrison by 16-seconds with Hickman a further five-seconds back in third.
Through the Mountain Mile Hickman passed Jamie Coward on the road before then sneaking past James Hillier, the pair almost brushing shoulders at 300 km/h which brought forth gasps from all who saw it.
Davey Todd returned to the pits at the end of lap three to retire from what was looking like a strong fourth position for the Padgetts rider. A cruel blow. The beneficiary was Jamie Coward who was promoted to fifth, John McGuinness sixth and Josh Brookes seventh as the race reached its halfway mark.
When they came in for their second pit stop Dunlop led Harrison by 22-seconds but on the road the Kawasaki man was still ahead of him and out of the pits before him. Harrison had started the race 40-seconds before Dunlop in the starting order. Peter Hickman was six-seconds behind Harrison and that gap had been hovering around that for much of the race but the BMW man made some ground in the pits to reduce Harrison’s buffer to under four-seconds with two laps to run. He struggled to make any further inroads though as he appeared to be having quick-shifter problems on the M 1000 RR.
Coward and Hillier were together on the road but Coward had started ten-seconds behind Hillier thus on the timing charts it was Hillier in fourth place and Coward fifth.
Michael Dunlop seemed content to button it off a fraction to help preserve his machinery which allowed Harrison and Hickman to start to pull a little ground back but the Northern Irishman still enjoyed a 17-second lead with a lap to run. Hickman 2.5-seconds behind Harrison. James Hillier a further 95-seconds behind that trio but with a nine-second buffer Jamie Coward. John McGuinness was sixth and Josh Brookes seventh.
Dean Harrison was slowed by some lapped traffic at Glen Helen which cost him enough time for Hickman to move up to second place on the timing charts. At Ballaugh on the final lap Dunlop led Hickman by 15.3 seconds, with Harrison eight-tenths further back after losing that second place while negotiating lapped riders. By Ramsey Hickman had extended his buffer over Harrison to three-seconds, and Hickman was now only 11-seconds behind Dunlop after saving his best for last…
By Bungalow Peter Hickman had reduced the gap to Dunlop to just under nine-seconds… But Michael Dunlop the victor despite a 135.445 mph lap by Hickman on the final lap to try and chase him down.
Dean Harrison claiming third place just under ten-seconds behind Hickman but a huge two-minutes ahead of fourth placed James Hillier.
Jamie Coward fifth with a handy buffer over fellow Honda rider John McGuinness and FHO BMW’s Josh Brookes.
David Johnson finished just outside the top ten, 11th for the South Australian.
Countryman Rennie Scaysbrook retired near Ballaugh just over a lap before the end.
Michael Dunlop equals John McGuinness on the TT win tally with 23 notches now on his belt.
Michael Dunlop – P1
“I’m delighted, the bike is good, I feel good, happy. I have never worried about records but John is a fantastic ambassador for the sport so to equal him is great, but just delighted for my boys and the team.”
Peter Hickman – P2
“I am happy enough, right from the start I knew I was in for a very long race. Quick-shift stopped working and the auto-blip, so right from the start we were beaten in regards to the race win right from the start. And the bike is so violent that it is pushing the pads back in the calipers and I have to pump the brakes up at every braking point which is a little disconcerting when you are trying to go fast. Saved myself for the last two laps, and particularly the last one as much as I dared considered the problems with the bike.”
Dean Harrison – P3
“I am over the moon to be honest, Michael is on fire, so pleased to run with these boys. It is so physically demanding and mentally demanding, happy to have a day off tomorrow.”
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