Michael Dunlop sizzles to set course record at Southern 100
Michael Dunlop got his 2013 Southern 100 off to a winning start on the Isle of Man last night when he blitzed the opposition in the combined 1000 / 600cc race in lap and race record speeds.
Guy Martin (Tyco Suzuki) got a flyer of a start in the eight lap race and by the end of the second lap was a second and a half clear of Dunlop and pole position man Dean Harrison, this trio well clear of a battle between Jamie Hamilton, Dan Kneen, Michael Pearson and Ian Lougher.
Meanwhile William Dunlop was leading the supersport class in seventh position overall.
By half distance Dunlop, reunited with his TT winning Honda Legends superbike, was flying and Martin's lead diminished to a bike length with new kid on the block Harrison well in contention.
On lap six Dunlop was ahead and on the penultimate lap set a new class lap record of 113.412mph, just shy of the outright record pulling clear by 2.79secs while Harrison was hounding Martin for second, with Pearson now ahead of the chasing quartet from Hamilton, Lougher and Kneen as William Dunlop was now well clear of his fellow 600cc competitors.
With a superb display of machine control Dunlop, backing it into Cross Four-ways every lap, he took the chequered flag three and three quarter seconds clear of Harrison, who had nipped past Martin exiting Castletown Corner on the final lap to take the runner-up slot by a tenth of a second.
Over 28 seconds back in fourth came Hamilton, two tenths ahead of Kneen with Lougher and Pearson a further tenth back as they crossed the line wheel to wheel.
After his record breaking victory Dunlop, who was taking a hat trick of wins in this particular race said, "I got a few problems, but once I caught Guy I was fast enough to win it.
"It's not a bad start to the meeting."
William claimed the 600cc victory riding the CD Racing Milwaukee Yamaha into seventh position overall also setting the new 600cc lap record of 107.901mph finishing 29 seconds clear of Jamie Coward and Tim Poole. William commented: "The big bikes just disappeared and I had a good battle with Davy Morgan before his machine blew up. My wee bike was faultless throughout."
Racing continues this evening with four races from 6.20pm with the Dunlop's again sure to be well to the fore followed by a full day's racing on Thursday when Michael Dunlop will be chasing o hat trick of Solo Championship victories.
Meanwhile, the S100 organisers named the competitor killed during Monday evening practice as 46-year old David Jukes from Douglas, who leaves a partner Cath and a young son Simon.
Mr Jukes died following an incident at Ballakeighan during 600cc qualifying.
* DANI Pedrosa has targeted a fourth straight Sachsenring MotoGP victory as he bids to extend his advantage at the head of this year's championship.
The Spaniard surged to the top of the standings following back-to-back wins at Jerez and Le Mans, but has failed to win since.
That run has allowed Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo – the man who beat Pedrosa to the 2012 crown – to close to within seven points despite the fact he raced with a broken collarbone in the Dutch TT.
"[The] Sachsenring has typically been a good track for me in the past and it's a circuit where I always enjoy racing," Pedrosa said.
"It's important to keep the momentum and ride my best to keep fighting for race wins."