Ian Hutchinson leads a BMW 1-2-3 in Superstock with 129.53mph lap from standing start
All-Aussie Norton duo of David Johnson and Josh Brookes nudge 127mph for 16th and 17th
William Dunlop tops Supersport Qualifying – Birchall quickest Sidecar
Melbourne based Brit Joe Akroyd crashed at Glentramman and was taken to Liverpool Hospital

Michael Dunlop has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of Sunday’s RST Superbike race at the 2017 Isle of Man TT with a lap of 131.062mph in Saturday morning’s qualifying session.

Michael Dunlop

“I’m happy to do the lap, but we have suffered with the lack of track time and we’re still working on set-up. It’s the first time this bike has been round here, so we’ve been changing lots of things each time we go out. The time’s good but we’ve got to ride at that pace for six laps tomorrow, so we’ll see how we go.”

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop

Steve Hicken – Suzuki Team Manager

“If anyone was going to be hindered by a lack of track time this week it was going to be us. We’ve done a lot with the bike, changing settings and components, improving it all the time, and we’re pleased with the lap, but we’re still working on everything; from corner entry to stability, everything. There’s plenty of potential there but getting a bike to work around the Isle of Man takes time and it takes laps. But we’re all working hard and we’ll do our best again tomorrow.”

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop

After a slight delay due to a medical issue at Glen Lough, the morning practice session got underway at 10.54am with South Australia David Johnson and Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson leading the field away on their Superbikes followed by James Hillier, Michael Rutter, Gary Johnson and Dean Harrison.

James Hillier at the bottom of Barregarrow
James Hillier at the bottom of Barregarrow

Conditions all around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course were ideal and Hutchinson was first to complete a lap on the Tyco BMW at 129.89mph although this was upstaged by Dunlop’s 131mph+ lap on the Bennetts Suzuki.

Dan Kneen
Dan Kneen

Dan Kneen was also quicker than Hutchinson, with Peter Hickman and Harrison the only other riders above 129mph. Dunlop wasn’t able to improve upon his lap second time around but Hickman went second quickest on the Smiths Racing BMW with a lap of 130.629mph.

Peter Hickman
Peter Hickman

Hutchinson moved up to third with 130.327mph but Kneen was only three hundredths of a second behind with a lap of 130.324mph, which was his quickest ever lap of the Mountain Course, albeit unofficially.

Michael Rutter (Bathams/SMT Racing BMW) was the fifth and final rider to break the 130mph barrier with Bruce Anstey and James Hillier getting into the 129s.

David Johnson and Josh Brookes both lapped at just under 127mph on the Nortons whilst impressive laps were recorded by, among others, Derek Sheils, Jamie Coward, Phil Crowe and Andrew Dudgeon.

Honda Racing team and Guy Martin are still struggling, the three lost days of practice due to weather has severely hampered their efforts to prepare the new machine, with Martin only completing nine laps of the Mountain course all week.

Guy Martin

“I am enjoying being back at the TT; the first night we were able to practice reminded me why I go racing, the course out there really is something else! We haven’t had the best of starts with the weather and we really needed some more track time. We are making progress and I have the best team for the job. We just have to see what tomorrow now brings and I’m looking forward to giving it a good go!”

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop
TT 2017 – Superbike Qualifying Times
  1. Michael Dunlop Suzuki 17:16.361 131.062 
  2. Peter Hickman BMW 17:19.799 130.629 
  3. Ian Hutchinson BMW 17:22.209 130.327 
  4. Dan Kneen BMW 17:22.232 130.324 
  5. Michael Rutter BMW 17:24.545 130.036 
  6. Bruce Anstey Honda 17:25.531 129.913 
  7. Dean Harrison Kawasaki 17:31.408 129.187 
  8. James Hillier Kawasaki 17:31.469 129.179 
  9. Lee Johnston BMW 17:33.782 128.896 
  10. Martin Jessopp BMW 17:42.090 127.887 
  11. Derek Sheils Suzuki 17:43.616 127.704 
  12. Conor Cummins Honda 17:44.296 127.622 
  13. Jamie Coward BMW 17:45.542 127.473 
  14. Daniel Hegarty Honda 17:45.636 127.462 
  15. Gary Johnson Suzuki 17:45.888 127.432 
  16. David Johnson Norton 17:50.031 126.938 
  17. Joshua Brookes Norton 17:50.393 126.895 
  18. Dan Stewart BMW 17:53.556 126.522 
  19. Ivan Lintin Kawasaki 17:53.621 126.514 
  20. Horst Saiger Kawasaki 17:54.435 126.418 
  21. Philip Crowe BMW 17:55.689 126.271 
  22. Sam West BMW 17:56.360 126.192 
  23. William Dunlop Yamaha 17:57.909 126.011 
  24. Steve Mercer Kawasaki 18:05.111 125.174
  25. James Cowton Kawasaki 18:08.120 124.828 
  26. Brian McCormack BMW 18:09.538 124.666 
  27. Guy Martin Honda 18:11.839 124.403 
  28. Michael Sweeney BMW 18:18.466 123.652 
  29. Stefano Bonetti BMW 18:18.970 123.596 
  30. Dominic Herbertson BMW 18:19.038 123.588

Ian Hutchinson posted the fastest Superstock time of the day on the Tyco BMW, a staggering standing start 129.53mph lap shows Hutchinson is on fine form for tomorrow’s Superbike race.

Tyco BMW Team Manager – Philip Neill

“To be honest this has been a difficult TT practice week for everyone with some schedule changes due to weather interruptions etc. However on a positive note we have recorded some good lap times with Hutchy and although we have had a couple of niggly little problems on the Superbike during the last two days, Ian’s 129.53mph lap time on his one and only lap on the Superstock bike so far was very pleasing. Hopefully we do get to race the RST Superbike race tomorrow and although there is some learning still to do, we hope to be at the sharp end challenging for a race win on the Tyco BMW S1000RR”

Ian Hutchinson
Ian Hutchinson

As the session wore on, the riders constantly pitted to either make changes to their Superbike or switch to their Supersport or Superstock machines and Lee Johnston was quickest in both of the latter. However, he crashed out towards the end of the session at Greeba Castle, sustaining minor injuries, and the session came to an early end. It was later reported that Johnston would be transferred to Liverpool for further assessment and treatment. Melbourne based Brit Joe Akroyd on his Superstock machine was reported off at Glentramman and was also transferred to Liverpool while Danny Webb sustained a shoulder injury in an incident at Laurel Bank.

TT 2017 – Superstock Qualifying Times
  1. Ian Hutchinson BMW 17:28.583 129.535 
  2. Lee Johnston BMW 17:33.782 128.896 
  3. Michael Rutter BMW 17:36.302 128.588 
  4. Dean Harrison Kawasaki 17:37.215 128.477 
  5. James Hillier Kawasaki 17:39.725 128.173 
  6. Peter Hickman BMW 17:40.927 128.028 
  7. Dan Kneen BMW 17:43.317 127.740 
  8. Jamie Coward BMW 17:45.542 127.473 
  9. William Dunlop Yamaha 17:51.881 126.719 
  10. Dan Stewart BMW 17:53.556 126.522
  11. Ivan Lintin Kawasaki 17:53.621 126.514 
  12. Martin Jessopp BMW 17:57.193 126.094 
  13. Daniel Hegarty Honda 18:01.649 125.575 
  14. Michael Dunlop Suzuki 18:03.782 125.328 
  15. Steve Mercer Kawasaki 18:05.111 125.174 
  16. Derek Sheils Suzuki 18:05.781 125.097 
  17. David Johnson BMW 18:07.609 124.887 
  18. James Cowton Kawasaki 18:08.120 124.828
  19. Brian McCormack BMW 18:09.538 124.666 
  20. Philip Crowe BMW 18:16.121 123.917 
  21. Bruce Anstey Honda 18:17.846 123.722 
  22. Michael Sweeney BMW 18:18.466 123.652
  23. Stefano Bonetti BMW 18:18.970 123.596 
  24. Dominic Herbertson BMW 18:19.038 123.588 
  25. Shaun Anderson Suzuki 18:19.549 123.531

After a break for Sidecar qualifying, the solo’s were back on track at 2.20pm with a session for the Supersport and Lightweight machines but the session was soon red flagged after an incident involving Paul Jordan and Bjorn Gunnarsson at Sarah’s Cottage. Both were taken to Nobles Hospital with Jordan sustaining a wrist injury and Gunnarsson complaining of neck pains but both were later discharged.

At 3.25pm, the action resumed and William Dunlop was quickest out the blocks with a lap of 125.297mph to go to the top of the Supersport leaderboard. Dean Harrison wasn’t far behind with 125.188mph with Ian Hutchinson, James Hillier and Peter Hickman also over 124mph.

However, the session was stopped due to a non-racing incident at Union Mills eventually restarting just after 4pm.

Hutchinson went slightly quicker to maintain his third place with Gary Johnson improving to 123.336mph and seventh overall. A superb performance came from newcomer Adam McLean with a lap of 120.499mph whilst fellow debutante Joey Thompson also improved, his best lap being 117.287mph.

William Dunlop leads Dean Harrison at Waterworks
William Dunlop leads Dean Harrison at Waterworks
TT 2017 – Supersport Qualifying Times
  1. William Dunlop Yamaha 18:04.049 125.297 
  2. Dean Harrison Kawasaki 18:04.990 125.188
  3. Ian Hutchinson Yamaha 18:09.667 124.651 
  4. James Hillier Kawasaki 18:11.648 124.425 
  5. Peter Hickman Triumph 18:14.481 124.103 
  6. Lee Johnston Honda 18:20.993 123.369 
  7. Gary Johnson Triumph 18:21.282 123.336 
  8. Michael Dunlop Yamaha 18:21.386 123.325 
  9. James Cowton Kawasaki 18:23.627 123.074 
  10. Conor Cummins Honda 18:31.613 122.190 
  11. Martin Jessopp Triumph 18:32.862 122.053 
  12. Dan Kneen Honda 18:34.902 121.830 
  13. Sam West Kawasaki 18:36.183 121.690 
  14. Joshua Brookes Honda 18:37.583 121.537 
  15. Horst Saiger Kawasaki 18:38.065 121.485 
  16. Jamie Coward Honda 18:40.016 121.273 
  17. Bruce Anstey Honda 18:40.508 121.220 
  18. Guy Martin Honda 18:40.704 121.199 
  19. Craig Neve Kawasaki 18:41.459 121.117 
  20. Daniel Cooper Honda 18:43.032 120.948 

In the Lightweight class, Martin Jessopp set the fastest lap of the week with a speed of 116.535mph on the Riders Motorcycles Kawasaki. 2015 and 2016 winner Ivan Lintin was less than half a second behind in second with Hickman’s final lap of 116.239mph seeing him jump up to third on the KMR/IEG Kawasaki.

Martin Jessopp - Kawasaki 650
Martin Jessopp – Kawasaki 650

Dan Cooper also lapped in excess of 116mph to place fourth ahead of Stefano Bonetti with Michael Dunlop putting in his first laps of the week on the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki to go sixth at 115.572mph. Gary Johnson, Josh Brookes and James Cowton were the other riders to lap at more than 115mph whilst McLean was again flying in tenth.

TT 2017 – Lightweight Qualifying Times
  1. Martin Jessopp Kawasaki 19:25.556 116.535 
  2. Ivan Lintin Kawasaki 19:25.985 116.492 
  3. Peter Hickman Kawasaki 19:28.526 116.239
  4. Daniel Cooper Kawasaki 19:29.965 116.096
  5. Stefano Bonetti Paton 19:31.855 115.909 
  6. Michael Dunlop Kawasaki 19:35.270 115.572 
  7. Gary Johnson CF Moto 19:36.577 115.443 
  8. Joshua Brookes Kawasaki 19:38.795 115.226 
  9. James Cowton Kawasaki 19:40.920 115.019 
  10. Lee Johnston Kawasaki 19:43.850 114.734 
  11. Michael Rutter Paton 19:48.538 114.282 
  12. Adam Mclean* Kawasaki 19:56.764 113.496 
  13. Michael Sweeney Kawasaki 19:59.771 113.212 
  14. Maria Costello Kawasaki 20:04.366 112.780 
  15.  Derek Sheils Kawasaki 20:04.528 112.765 

Tomorrow, Sunday, is the first race day of the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy

  • 12.45 – Road closed Barrule Park, Ramsey to Bungalow
  • 13.00 – Road closed Bungalow to Creg Ny Baa
  • 13.30 – Roads closed rest of the course
  • 14.00 – RST Superbike Race (6 laps)
  • 16.25 – Sidecar Qualifying (1 lap)
  • 16.40 – TT Zero Qualifying (1 lap)
  • 17.30 – Roads scheduled to be open except mountain section
  • 18.30 – Roads scheduled to be open around the course

At 12.40pm, it was the turn of the F2 Sidecars and although Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle elected to miss the session, the Birchall brothers made their intentions clear with an opening lap of 114.61mph.

However, on their second lap, the Mansfield pair stopped at the 11th Milestone to make adjustments and Alan Founds/Jake Lowther were quickest second time around at 112.703mph.

Alan’s brother Pete, with Jevan Walmsley in the chair, was also above 110mph as were John Holden/Lee Cain despite suffering from grip issues. Steve and Matty Ramsden were also in excess of 110mph whilst Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney set a new, unofficial personal best lap at 109.091mph.

In what was an extremely busy day, the last main session of the evening saw the F2 sidecars out once more and the Birchalls got close to their own lap record with a lap of 116.675mph. Holden/Cain also improved to 115.110mph to move up to second fastest for the week with Founds/Lowther also going great guns with a lap of 113.746mph.

Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes and Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley also broke the 113mph barrier.

The sidecar crews will get a final chance to prepare with a 1 lap qualifying session at 16.25 ahead of Monday’s rescheduled Sure Sidecar Race 1.

Ben and Tom Birchall
Ben and Tom Birchall
TT 2017 – Sidecar Qualifying Times
  1. Ben Birchall 116.675
  2. John Holden 115.110 
  3. Dave Molyneux 114.744
  4. Tim Reeves 114.350
  5. Alan Founds 113.746
  6. Peter Founds113.207 
  7. Steve Ramsden 110.016
  8. Karl Bennett 109.512
  9. Lewis Blackstock 109.091
  10. Conrad Harrison 109.029