Fans made to wait as Superbike showdown is delayed
The six-lap TT Superbike race, which is set to open this year's Isle of Man TT Festival action for the solo classes, has been postponed until tomorrow due to inclement weather and gale-force winds forecast on the island today.
Although the all-important news for local race fans is that Michael Dunlop completed the two laps required on his MD Racing/Buildbase BMW to qualify for tomorrow's mouth-watering TT Superbike race with a best effort of 128.636mph.
Dunlop's lap was slightly faster than the official Tyco BMW Motorrad machines of Guy Martin (127.861mph) and William Dunlop (126.907) in third and fourth on last night's timesheets, but 46-year-old Kiwi Bruce Anstey topped the session with a 129.394mph effort on his Padgetts' Honda.
Organisers have rescheduled today's programme with a 10.40am practice session scheduled for Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machinery with the opening Sure Sidecar race set to run at 2.00pm over three laps.
Three-wheeled TT legend Dave Molyneux and passenger Benjamin Binns will start as favourites on board their DMR Suzuki, but John Holden and Moly's former passenger, Dan Sayle - the most successful back-up man in TT history - topped the practice leaderboard with a lap of 114.742mph on Thursday night.
Last night's TT practice session went ahead as planned, with all the leading contenders out first on their respective Supersport 600cc machines when the solo practice got under way at 7.25pm.
Man of the moment Ian Hutchinson topped the session on board Prodigy frontman Keith Flint's TTC Yamaha with a lap speed of 124.927mph, but just 10 seconds covered the top six, proving how competitive the middleweight TT races are going to be this year.
That said, Anstey topped the overall practice week leaderboard with a 125.218mph effort on Wednesday night on Clive Padgett's Honda, some three seconds quicker than Hutchy.
John McGuinness was second quickest on the night (124.480mph) with Mar-Train Racing's Dean Harrison third (124.358mph) and William Dunlop fourth quickest on the CD/IC Yamaha (124.260mph).
But had he mysteriously not lost seven seconds on the run down the mountain, the Ballymoney man would have topped the practice week Supersport leaderboard at a canter.
His brother Michael clocked an almost identical time on the Hunt's CBR600 Honda with a lap speed of 124.2233mph with Fermanagh's Lee Johnston (123.785mph) rounding out the top six a further four seconds adrift on the East Coast Construction/Burden's 675 Triumph.
Ryan Farquhar sits proudly at the top of the Lightweight leaderboard following his 117.432mph lap on Thursday evening, four seconds quicker than Gaz Johnson (117.068mph) with Ivan Lintin third on 116.804mph.
Jamie Hamilton posted yet another 115mph lap during last night's session on his B.E Racing Kawasaki ER6.
Johnston (115.397mph) is also guaranteed to be in the hunt for podium honours on the second of Farquhar's KMR/SGS International ER6 Kawasaki, despite having only completed a couple of laps on the little Supertwin.