Belfast Telegraph

Weather relents but Isle of Man conditions demanding

 

High flyer: Conor Cummins tackles yesterday’s Isle of Man TT qualifying session
High flyer: Conor Cummins tackles yesterday’s Isle of Man TT qualifying session

By Roy Harris

The weather relented on the Isle of Man yesterday and qualifying got back under way around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit in far from ideal conditions.

Sidecars went out first for two laps followed by Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines with Conor Cummins setting the fastest Superbike lap of the session at 128.92mph.

Dean Harrison was five and a half seconds behind on 128.29mph and Australian David Johnson put in a late lap of 128.24mph to claim third place.

John McGuinness, down in ninth on the Norton at 124.72mph, described the conditions as "the worst I've ever ridden in".

He added: "It was very wet under the trees; it was blowing a gale and there were leaves everywhere.

"However, it is what it is and the same for everybody as we are all desperate for laps."

One man to lose out on laps was Michael Dunlop, who stopped at the Mountain Box on the Tyco BMW on the opening lap and, unable to make his way back to the pits, was forced to miss the complete session.

Lee Johnston set the fastest Supersport lap at 122.93mph, while Peter Hickman set the Superstock pace with a lap of 128.50mph and Michael Rutter was fastest of the TT Zero machines at 117.16mph on the Mugen.

A schedule for today has been announced with a full programme of pratice and racing.

Saturday's fourth round of the AJ Plumbing Supplies Ulster Superbike championship saw series leader Carl Phillips lose his six-race unbeaten run in race one when Alistair Kirk got home just ahead of the Lisburn man, who lost ground early in the nine-lap race when he ran wide before setting the fastest lap of the day in his pursuit of Kirk.

The Polaris Kawasaki of Nico Mawhinney was on the podium, in third place, for the first time since his return to racing following injury. Defending champion Gerard Kinghan was fourth and Masters Champion Richie Ryan fifth.

Phillips made amends in race two, coming home 1.831 seconds ahead of Kirk with Kinghan a further six seconds back in third after Mawhinney, who had set the fastest lap of 98.242mph, had a coming together at the chicane with Kirk, who accidentally took the handlebar out of the Castledawson man's hand and he was down, suffering broken bones in his hand and foot.

The Wallace Contracts Presidents Cup went to the overall winner of the two Pre-Injection races with Johnny Irwin the recipient by winning both races, the first by 0.014 seconds from Derek O'Connell and the second by 0.221 seconds from Mervyn Griffin.

Mark Conlin doubled up in the Supersport races, heading home championship leader Christian Elkin in both while Elkin was the comfortable winner of both Supertwin races with Darryl Tweed and Mark Abraham sharing the Production Twin races with split seconds separating them.

Meanwhile, the work of volunteers at the fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils, has received special recognition with the presentation of the 2019 Queens Award for Voluntary Service - the highest form of civic recognition that can be granted to an organisation.

"Like all motorcycle races, the North West would not happen without the fantastic effort and work of our army of volunteers," said Event Director Mervyn Whyte.

• Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci secured his maiden MotoGP victory on home soil at Mugello after edging out Marc Marquez at the conclusion of a thrilling Italian Grand Prix.

Petrucci held on in a tense showdown, beating Honda rider Marquez by only 0.043 seconds on the drag to the finish line, with Andrea Dovizioso making it two Ducatis on the podium in third.

It marked the first win on his 125th start in the premier class for 28-year-old Petrucci, who replaced Jorge Lorenzo at the factory Ducati team for 2019.

"It's amazing, I'm thrilled," said the Italian, who finished eighth in the 2017 and 2018 championships.

"In front of my home crowd and in my town, it's incredible. I can't describe how I feel."

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