Belfast Telegraph

Isle of Man TT qualifying times: We're all racing in Dan Kneen's memory now, says Hickman

 

By Roy Harris

After the many glowing tributes to Dan Kneen, who lost his life in a Wednesday evening practice accident, the bikes were out on track last night for TT qualifying and practice.

The track was in excellent condition, with only a few damp patches reported under trees.

Dean Harrison was again setting the pace in the timing sections on the opening lap, but as he pulled in at the end of the lap to switch to his Superstock machine, Peter Hickman flashed past the Grandstand with the fastest lap at 131.113mph on the Smiths BMW, almost four seconds faster than Harrison (130.612mph).

On his flying lap, Hickman went even faster with an unofficial personal best lap of the Mountain Course of 132.806mph, 13 seconds faster than his standing start lap.

Hickman said: "It was usually just a cruising lap! There were a few damp patches, but we are improving all the time.

"It was difficult after last night, but this is what we are all here for, all this is now in Dan's memory."

Conor Cummins on the Padgetts Honda was second fastest on the night at 131.175mph, three quarters of a second faster than the Tyco BMW of Michael Dunlop (130.959mph), the Ballymoney man putting in his first back-to-back laps on the machine as he prepares for tomorrow's opening race.

Harrison was fourth fastest with his single-lap speed while two Australians - Dave Johnston (Gulf BMW) and Josh Brookes (Norton) - were fifth and sixth respectively, lapping over the 129mph mark.

Harrison remains the fastest rider of the week to date at 133.462mph.

Johnston topped last night's Superstock time sheets with a second lap of 129.202mph with Hickman second fastest at 128.381mph, although Hicky still heads the week's speeds with a 130.619mph lap on Tuesday evening.

Harrison was third yesterday on 128.246mph just over a second ahead of Michael Dunlop on his own MD Racing BMW.

Banbridge rider and KTM employee Shaun Anderson deserves a special mention for finishing in fifth position on his private Suzuki at 126.99mph, while Ian Hutchinson put in an impressive lap on his Honda of 126.728mph, considering the well-documented injury misery he has endured this past year.

Supersport saw Ivan Lintin go fastest last night with an 18m 22.304sec second lap for a speed of 123.222mph, but it was tight between the first three riders with Jamie Coward second fastest at 123.208mph and Lee Johnston on a Padgetts Honda third fastest at 123.208mph, 1.7 seconds covering the top three.

Tobermore rider Adam McLean - riding in his second TT - was sixth fastest on the McAdoo MSS Kawasaki at 121.894mph.

The Sidecar winners from last year, the Birchall brothers Ben and Tom, set the fastest lap of the three-wheelers with 116.554mph with John Holden and Lee Cain second quickest at 115.141mph.

The TT Zero riders had their first taste of the circuit last night with Michael Rutter getting the electric Team Mugen machine around at 116.05mph with Daley Mathison on a University of Nottingham machine second fastest at 103.14mph and a second Mugen bike in the hands of Lee Johnston third fastest on their single lap at just over 101mph.

Practice continues tonight from 6.20pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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