Michael Dunlop turns up the heat at Isle of Man TT
Michael Dunlop threw down his maverick's gauntlet with a blistering standing start lap of 131.574mph during last night's Superbike session at the Isle of Man TT aboard his Hawk Racing BMW.
The Ballymoney man's effort was seven seconds quicker than Ian Hutchinson's best lap of 130.691mph, also set yesterday on his Tyco BMW.
Dunlop said: "The track is in good shape and after three good nights I will just worry about me and keep plugging away.
"There's still a lot more to come yet."
Honda's John McGuinness was the only other rider to break the magical 130mph barrier in the Manx sunshine, just 90 seconds down on Hutchinson with a lap speed of 130.497mph.
Hutchinson did top the Superstock leaderboard in sensational fashion with a lap of 130.745mph, which was the second fastest time of the night overall and, amazingly, half a second better than his Superbike best.
Eleven-time TT winner Dunlop, after his 131mph Superbike lap, sprinted to his MD Racing BMW Superstock machine to get one final effort in, with one thing on his mind — to topple the Bingley man for the second time on the night.
It wasn’t to be, with his lap of 128.850mph some 15 seconds adrift of Hutchinson, who looks unbeatable on the Tyco BMW machine that has taken him to three podiums and second spot to date in the British Superstock class.
Bathams/SMT BMW mounted Michael Rutter wasn’t hanging about either and slotted into second in the Superstock class with a 129.204mph effort, just over 12 seconds down on Hutchinson.
It is comparable to his Superbike best of 129.163mph, which saw him post the sixth fastest time of the night in the blue riband class.
Such was the pace, Lee Johnston’s new best effort of the week to date of 128.092mph on the East Coast Racing BMW Superbike was only 10th on the leaderboard.
Behind Dunlop, Hutchinson and McGuinness at the summit of the Superbike class were Cummins (129.764mph), Dean Harrison (129.261mph), Rutter, Bruce Anstey (128.833mph), Steve Mercer (128.672mph), James Hillier (128.238mph) and Johnston.
Fermanagh’s Johnston did post the fastest time of the night in the Supersport class aboard his East Coast Racing 675 Triumph with a 123.397mph effort, although most of the main contenders concentrated on their 1000cc machinery.
Anstey, Harrison, Hutchinson and Dunlop have all gone quicker with laps in the 124mph bracket, but Johnston is in the Supersport ballpark.
Tonight’s session gets under way at 6.20pm.