Dean Harrison was the quickest out of the blocks through the first sectors on the opening lap of the four-lap Supersport Race One in what were warm and humid conditions at the Isle of Man this morning.
After the first few sectors though Michael Dunlop and his CBR600RR had overhauled Harrison to take the lead on the timing sheets and then steadily eked out a tenth here and there over the Kawasaki man. By the end of lap one that gap had become a full-second.
James Hillier had been in third place for the most of the opening lap before being chased down by Peter Hickman who relegated him to fourth place. Josh Brookes was holding station in eighth place over the opening lap.
On lap two Dunlop continued to stretch away ever so slightly from Harrison, a tenth here, a tenth there, pushing the gap out to two-seconds. From there however Dunlop stepped things up another notch, increasing his rate of advance away from Harrison. By the end of lap two Dunlop enjoyed a handy five-second advantage over Harrison.
On lap two Michael Dunlop set a new outright Supersport lap record with a 129.197 to push his buffer over Harrison out to 6.4-seconds. Then it was into pitlane for the pit stops.
Most of the top runners had smooth pit stops around the 50-second mark. Peter Hickman did lose a little time though as he could not remember which button was the pit-lane speed limiter on the Trooper Triumph, thus Hickman took it very gingerly so as not to cop a 30-second penalty for speeding in pit-lane.
There was a melee in pit lane though between some riders further back in the field with Xavier Denis getting collected by someone else cutting across him to enter their pit bay, the result was damage to Denis’ machine which put him out of the race.
Lap three saw Dunlop continue to pull away from Harrison who seemingly had no answer for the Northern Irishman here today on the 600cc Supersport machines. James Hillier then managed to get back in front of Peter Hickman but the gap was a slender one-second.
As they started the final lap Michael Dunlop was right on the tail of Dean Harrison on the road, but was well up on the Englishman on the timing charts, 9.4-seconds the advantage. Thus if he chose to, Dunlop could simply follow Harrison home and claim the win without engaging in any actual on track battles with the Kawasaki man.
The tussle over third place was far from over with Peter Hickman moving ahead of James Hillier early on the final lap to stake his claim on that final step on the rostrum.
Josh Brookes had been somewhat of a quiet achiever in the second half of the race. The ex British Superbike and Australian Superbike Champion worked his way past Gary Johnson and Lee Johnston to move the McAms Yamaha YZF-R6 up to sixth place by the final lap.
Michael Dunlop went on to take the win with Dean Harrison graciously inviting him to pass at the line to also take the win on the road rather than only on the timing.
Dunlop’s 40th TT finish, 27th podium, and his 17th win moving him up to third place in the all-time TT win standings, equal with sidecar legend Dave Molyneaux. Of course the all-time win record lies with Michael’s legendary uncle, Joey Dunlop on 26, while John McGuinness is second on the tally with 23 victories to his name.
Dean Harrison adds another second place to his scorecard while Peter Hickman increases his podium tally after managing to pull away from James Hillier on the final lap.
Harrison almost slowed too much to let Dunlop through, nearly being pipped out of that second place by a charging Peter Hickman.
Conor Cummins brought the Padgetts Honda home in fifth place, 13-seconds ahead of sixth placed Josh Brookes. The Australian had really pulled away from Gary Johnson and Lee Johnston in the final laps.
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