Belfast Telegraph

Bruce Anstey lands first blow on TT opponents

By Paul Lindsay

Kiwi Bruce Anstey topped last night’s opening practice session for this year’s TT Races on the Isle of Man — the Valvoline by Padgetts’ Honda rider clocking up a respectable lap speed of 127.473mph right at the end of the session on his Superbike.

And if anyone was in any doubt about 20-time TT winner John McGuinness’ fitness following a wrist injury, the Morecambe man set the second quickest time, just over a second slower than 45-year-old Anstey with a lap speed of 126.355mph aboard his factory Honda.

Three of Anstey’s four laps in last night’s session were quicker than third placed rider in the Superbike class, Gary Johnson. The Lincs Lifting Honda rider’s best lap was some 15 seconds adrift of the Kiwi’s best, with a lap speed of 125.686mph.

William Dunlop was the first of the Irish riders on the leaderboard, recording a 125.400mph lap (18mins 03.155sec) on his second lap aboard the Tyco Suzuki. His brother Michael was next quickest, less than a second slower than William with a lap speed of 125.335mph on his BMW Motorrad machine.

Michael Rutter (124.740mph) and Dan Kneen on the Cookstown BE Racing Suzuki (124.658mph) rounded out last night’s top six in the Superbike class.

Michael Dunlop headed up the Superstock class aboard his Buildbase BMW, with a lap speed of 123.239mph (18mins 22.152sec), closely followed by brother William on the Tyco Suzuki (122.461mph/18mins 29.153sec).

Aussie Dave Johnson (121.571mph/18mins 37.273sec), German Horst Saiger (121.216mph/18mins 40.541sec) and James Hillier (121.167mph/18mins 41.000sec) rounded out the top six.

Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton was next up and was pleased with his lap speed of 120.207mph (18mins 49.952sec) onboard Wilson Craig’s Honda Fireblade.

He said afterwards: “It’s great to be back on the Island.

“The Honda is far more stable around here than the Kawasaki I rode last year and it’s put a big smile on my face. I can look forward to the rest of the week now as it feels like I’m riding a 600.”

Gary Johnson set the two quickest times in the Supersport class with a best of 122.619mph (18mins 27.727sec) on the Smith’s Triumph.

The Lincolnshire lad was followed by McGuinness who posted a 118.672mph lap, albeit 37 seconds slower than former Supersport winner Johnson.

Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston, a double winner at the North West 200 in the Supertwin class, was third quickest on the East Coast Pirtek Honda with a speed of 118.183mph (19mins 09.304sec).

Wheely good: Michael Dunlop (BMW/Hawk Racing) in action during the opening practice session of the Isle of Man TT DAVE KNEEN

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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