Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Isle of Man TT: McGuinness off to flying start

John McGuinness takes his time around this corner, but he was flying round the Isle of Man in the opening practice for the TT

John McGuinness, on his TT Legends Honda, got his 2012 Isle of Man TT off to a flying start by setting a fastest lap of 128.267mph during opening practice for Superbike machines in dry and sunny conditions.

mcguinness quick out of the blocks to deliver tt warning Speed king: John McGuinness takes his time around this corner, but he was flying round the Isle of Man in the opening practice for the TT |SIMON PATTERSON/|PACEMAKER

The 17-time winner and current lap record holder had a slow opening lap, but after making adjustments flew round in 17minutes 38.95 seconds to set a high benchmark for the opposition.

After completing the lap McGuinness said: “It was real tricky conditions out there and you had to be careful with the sun really bad in a couple of places.

“On the first lap I had a problem with the back shock and I stopped and had a quick look before cruising back.

“The boy’s did a good job and I got a flyer in at the end and I’m real happy with that.”

It was also a good evening for the Wilson Craig Honda duo of Cameron Donald and William Dunlop with the Australian fastest in the Superstock class with a speed of 123.66mph, second fastest behind McGuinness in the Superbike class at 126.379mph and second in Supersport just behind his team-mate Dunlop.

Dunlop’s speed was 122.904mph, but in the Superbike class the Ballymoney rider struggled in 11th position saying, “It was hard work on the big bike, as it just wasn’t behaving as it should.

“Because it was repaired after the crash at the North West it probably needs a bit of fine-tuning. The wee bike was really flying and I was happy with it.”

Brother Michael (pictured) set the second fastest time on his McAdoo Kawasaki in the Superstock class behind Donald, was eighth fastest on the McAdoo Hunts Honda in Superbike and third fastest on the Ard Na Mara Suzuki in Supersport.

Tyco Suzuki by TAS rider Guy Martin had a strange day after crashing at Cross Four Ways in the afternoon Pre-Classic Superbike race at Billown whilst disputing the lead with Jamie Coward.

The pair came across slower riders on the final lap with the Lincolnshire ace slipping off his XR 69 Trident Engineering Suzuki at low speed uninjured.

This comes on top of his escape at the North West 200 where he crashed his Supersport Tyco Suzuki at 120mph.

In a poor start to TT fortnight for the Moneymore based outfit as Conor Cummins decided to sit out the opening session for Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport machines.

Martin, despite his spill earlier in the day, was on the grid and set the seventh fastest speed of 124.127mph in Superbike and was fifth fastest in Superstock; the Lincolnshire Ace described his day saying: “I was out getting a few miles in at Billown when I ended up on my ear. No problems though and I had a good session. You get no medals for practice speeds and it was steady away. This is why I race bikes, the buzz of the TT.”

Simon Andrews, riding as McGuinness' team-mate for TT Honda Legends, was the surprise packet of Superbike qualifying setting the fourth fastest time of the session in only his second TT, just slightly slower than third place man Bruce Anstey.

Ryan Farquhar was another who experienced problems with his KMR Kawasaki Superbike saying after his opening lap: “I’ve a lot of work to do. I had no high-speed stability and it was a bit of a handful over the bumps.”

The Dungannon man, fastest in the Lightweight session for Supertwin machines on Saturday evening was seventh fastest in Superbike at 123.153mph.

Farquhar’s protégé Jamie Hamilton, making his Isle of Man debut, had a lap at 112.66mph, the fastest of the newcomers.

In the sidecars the Birchall Brothers crashed at Brandywell and were taken by Air Med to hospital for examination.

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