Red-hot Hutchinson ups the ante at TT as Dunlop left with work to do
Miracle man Ian Hutchinson set the first 130mph lap of this year's Isle of Man TT Races during last night's practice session, which kept the Tyco BMW rider in top spot in the Superbike class.
Four other riders recorded 129mph - John McGuinness, Peter Hickman, Conor Cummins and Dean Harrison.
But hard-charging Ballymoney man Michael Dunlop was conspicuous by his absence at the business end of the leaderboard, the 27-year-old retiring his Hawk Racing BMW on the opening lap of the session while well on the pace.
Bingley ace Hutchinson, who has battled back from over 30 operations and multiple hours under the knife to save his injured left leg following an incident at Silverstone back in 2011, also topped the Superstock practice session for Tyco BMW with a lap speed of 128.723mph and was third quickest on his Came Yamaha with a best effort of 123.757mph.
Hutchinson also set the fastest speed trap time last night with a mind-bogglingly quick 196.8mph on his Tyco BMW Superbike.
Taking into consideration his three Superbike laps last night came in at 129.120mph, 129.534mph and 130.626mph, he is the man to beat after day three on Mona's Isle.
Kiwi Bruce Anstey was again highly impressive on the Honda RC213V MotoGP customer replica, which is valued at £140,000 - and that's before his Padgetts team bolt on a race kit and fine-tune the engine and electronics.
The 47-year-old's best lap last night was 128.976mph, just 13 seconds down on top man Hutchinson and with three more nights of practice still to come before Saturday's six-lap RST TT Superbike race, Anstey - last year's winner - will be considered a major threat to Hutchinson, Dunlop and McGuinness, despite riding what should have been an unconventional TT race bike.
Anstey, a 10-time Isle of Man TT winner, did top last night's Supersport session aboard his Padgetts Honda with a lap speed of 124.508mph.
Harrison continued his impressive form in the early stages of this year's TT with the second fastest time at 124.207mph, just ahead of Hutchinson, with McGuinness (123.505mph), Michael Dunlop (123.170mph) and William Dunlop (122.963mph) completing the top six.
Silicone Racing's Harrison sealed his place in the 129mph club last night in the Superbike class.
The Bradford lad is looking relaxed and confident with his Kawasaki team, managed by former GP racer Paul Iddon - the father of leading BSB rider Christian Iddon.
The Lightweight class belonged to the 'King of the Supertwins' Ivan Lintin.
The 31-year-old from Bardney in Lincolnshire was in a class of his own, with a lap of 118mph on the RC Express Racing ER-6 Kawasaki.
Such was Lintin's pace, he was some 34 seconds quicker than Stefano Bonetti, the second-placed man on last night's leaderboard aboard the exotic Paton S1.
Rob Hodson took third spot with his best effort tipping the timing beam at 113.545mph.
Locals worth mentioning include Fermanagh's Lee Johnston, who is bedding himself into the event slowly and posted laps of 124.736mph in Superbike, 120.712mph in Superstock and 121.885mph in the Supersport class.
Dubliner Derek Sheils is also well worth a mention on the Cookstown B.E Racing Suzuki in the Superbike class (123.849mph), with Aussie Cameron Donald's best lap coming on the Wilson Craig Supersport machine at 122.036mph. Newcomer Seamus Elliott posted a lap of 113mph.
Practice continues tonight at 6.20pm with the big guns again first on track aboard Superbike and Superstock machinery.