Michael Dunlop out to repeat NW heroics
Postponed from yesterday due to deteriorating weather, today’s four-lap Royal London Superstock race will see Michael Dunlop chasing his ninth TT victory when he lines up on the MD Racing BMW.
The 25-year-old Ballymoney rider has already won the TT Superbike race for the German manufacturer and finished third in the first Supersport race this week on his own Honda.
Having won a Superstock race at the North West 200 on the BMW, Dunlop will be keen to take that form into today’s race.
Dunlop said before heading to the Island: “The bike may have been strong at the North West, but it remains to be seen if we can transfer that to the Mountain Course, a whole different ball game to Portrush.”
With the weather set-backs during TT practice, Dunlop was not too disappointed to be second fastest of the week in the Superstock class, setting him up well ahead of today’s race.
He commented: “We made a change or two to the bike after the North West and despite the lack of miles on it this week, I’m sure we’ll be running at the sharp end of the race. I’ll be getting the head down, giving it my best shot and we’ll see where that takes us.”
You can be certain of one thing — Michael will not be going out to make up the numbers. It’s simply not in his genes.
However, the opposition will be out to thwart his winning ambition with fastest qualifier Gary Johnson, the winner of yesterday’s Supersport race, the only man over the 130mph mark in Superstock qualifying on his Lincs Lifting Kawasaki.
Like yesterday, Johnson starts the race between the Dunlop brothers, and he joked: “I hope to get to see plenty of Michael starting in front of me and none of William who starts behind me.”
Bruce Anstey had an impeccable practice week and is now the fastest ever TT rider having set a new outright lap record of 132.298mph in Saturday’s Superbike TT and he finished second behind Johnson in Supersport yesterday.
The Flying Kiwi on the Valvoline Padgetts Honda can never be discounted, as he chases his 10th TT victory.
Honda’s other main challengers today should be Conor Cummins on the RAF Reserve Racing machine that he races in the British Superstock championship and
Lee Johnston, who split the Tyco Suzuki’s in practice this week and quipped in the TT programme: “If the top eight or nine break down I might stand a chance of a podium.”
Tyco Suzuki pairing Guy Martin and William Dunlop were well off the Superstock pace at the North West 200, just scraping into the top 10 in the first race while the first Suzuki home in race two was Dan Kneen; 10th on his Cookstown BE machine.
Dunlop (W) and Martin will need to find a turn of speed to stand on a podium in a class that has seen BMW and Kawasaki dominate so far this season on the roads.
Outsiders to keep an eye on include James Hillier, Dean Harrison, Kneen and Horst Saiger in what should be another cracking TT race.