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Speedster: Ian Hutchinson was fastest in TT practice last night

Speedster: Ian Hutchinson was fastest in TT practice last night

Dave Kneen

Speedster: Ian Hutchinson was fastest in TT practice last night

The eagerly anticipated Superbike battle between Michael Dunlop (Bennetts Suzuki) and Ian Hutchinson (Tyco BMW) started to unfold when Isle of Man TT practice finally got under way last night after the spell of bad weather.

Hutchy set the quickest time at 125.839mph from a standing start with Dunlop 1.368secs slower at 125.680mph, also from a standing start and the first time the all-new Suzuki had turned a wheel around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit.

Both had pitted at the end of their opening lap to make adjustments when Dunlop was fastest, but Hutchy was able to improve his time by over 27secs to top the leaderboard with the only lap at under 18 minutes, while the Ulsterman was four seconds slower than his opening lap.

Both will expect to build on these speeds as the week progresses and the weather is in their favour.

Third fastest, and some nine seconds slower than Dunlop, was Manxman Dan Kneen (BMW) at 124.642, with 2014 fastest newcomer Peter Hickman fourth with a speed of 124.093mph on his Smiths BMW.

Steve Mercer and Lee Johnston, riding his Superstock BMW, completed the top six, both lapping at over 123mph, with William Dunlop (Temple Golf R1 Yamaha) in 12th.

In the opening practice on road conditions that were improving all the time Hutchinson was also fastest on the Supersport machine with a second lap of 121.147mph on the McAms Yamaha, with Michael Dunlop on his MD Racing Yamaha just over a second slower at 121.020mph, also on his second lap.

Geoff Johnson, a past winner of the class, was third fastest on his Triumph with a speed of 120.311mph, with Kiwi Bruce Anstey at 119.794mph in fourth.

William Dunlop and Lee Johnston were seventh and ninth respectively, while Guy Martin, on his TT comeback, was down in 17th on the Wilson Craig Honda.

Out along with the Supersport machines were the Lightweight Supertwin machines with North West 200 winner Michael Rutter, this time Paton-mounted, fastest at 113.946mph, less than a second clear of the ER6 Kawasaki of Ivan Lintin.

Dan Cooper was third fastest on his Kawasaki ahead of Hickman on Ryan Farquhar's KMR IEG Kawasaki.

Rutter was also fastest in the Superstock on the Bathams BMW with a lap of 124.117mph, three seconds clear of Anstey at 123.722mph.

Isle of Man crew Dave Molyneux and passenger Dan Sayle (DMR Yamaha) after three laps were the fastest outfit of the evening at 114.090mph, with the Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom, second fastest at 110.917mph.

Paul Jordan and Adam McLean from Magherafelt and Tobermore respectively had their first ever laps around the TT course and ended the evening with Jordan lapping at 113.29mph, fractionally faster than McLean, whose fastest lap was 112.89mph.

When asked about their first lap experiences, Jordan said: "We've been waiting a long time, and it has been frustrating, but at last we are getting that first lap to get dialled in."

McLean, before setting off for the speed-controlled first lap, said: "I'm looking forward to this. I'm just going out for a spin round to get the feel of things."

Practice continues this evening and is scheduled to start at 6.20pm.

Belfast Telegraph