Michael Dunlop perfectly placed to win 10th TT
After his phenomenal victory in Saturday’s six-lap Superbike TT, handing German manufacturer BMW their first solo victory in some 75 years, the question now is: can Michael Dunlop take his career TT tally into double figures by winning today’s Supersport and Superstock races on the Isle of Man?
It’s undoubtedly a big ask, but well within the capabilities of the Ballymoney man, who sits on eight TT wins after Saturday’s famous victory.
With rain showers forecast on the island, which could effectively put an embargo on today’s race schedule, there could well be no racing at all — but let’s look at Dunlop’s main contenders.
In the four-lap Supersport class, which is scheduled to go at 10.45 am, Dunlop’s main threat should come in the form of former middleweight TT winner and hard charging Lincolnshire-man Gary Johnson.
Riding the British championship leading Smith’s Triumph machine, Johnson is the only competitor to record a 125mph lap on Supersport machinery during practice week at the TT this year; and impressively backed it up with yet another 125mph effort during Saturday’s practice session, following the six-lap Superbike race.
Michael Dunlop is second on the practice week leaderboard with a time of 124.530mph on his MD Racing Honda, some 12 seconds adrift of Johnson, but having concentrated his effort on the BMW Superbike during practice week, for me Michael is going to be the man to beat in today’s opening race on Mona’s Isle.
His brother William on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 has recorded the next best effort in the Supersport class with a 124.475mph effort, but my dark horse for the win is Aussie British Superbike superstar Josh Brookes.
The former World Supersport race winner clocked up a standing start effort on Saturday night of 124.170mph, just a couple of seconds away from the Dunlop brothers in only his second year of competition on the island.
Should the organisers have the courage to run a wet or damp race today, Brookes could well hand Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha team their debut TT victory.
Scottish ace Keith Amor is on the island for a pay-day, but having also recorded a lap of 124mph, he cannot be discounted on the Rig Deluge Honda.
The best of the rest include Mar-Train Racing’s Dean Harrison, Smith’s Triumph mounted Michael Rutter and Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston — already a North West 200 winner this year in the Supertwin class, but also keep an eye on eight-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson.
Disappointed with his TT so far, Hutchinson is worth an outside bet after his 123mph lap on Saturday night following some major suspension changes on his Milwaukee Power Tools backed R6 Yamaha.
Michael Dunlop (129.33mph) on sheer pedigree alone, will start favourite in the Superstock class aboard his Buildbase backed MD Racing BMW S1000RR, but 130mph man Gary Johnson on the Linc Lifting ZX10R Kawasaki, will surely offer up stiff opposition.
Yorkshire’s Dean Harrison, whose father Conrad won his first ever TT in the opening Sidecar race on Saturday, is the dark horse in the class, after an impressive lap of 128.622mph on-board his MSS powered RC Express Kawasaki.
Michael Rutter on the Batham’s BMW; Honda Racing’s Conor Cummins and John McGuinness should be there-or-thereabouts in the 2pm start over four-laps.