McGuinness is glad to shrug off near-miss and lay down marker
At long last there was a full practice session for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix last night after a week of rain, mist, more rain and a road traffic accident hit qualifying.
John McGuinness (500cc Winfield Paton) is certainly back on form around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit after setting the fastest lap in the Classic TT Senior session at 109.663mph.
That was 53 seconds faster than Jamie Coward at 105.123mph, with Maria Costello third fastest on 104.642mph and Lee Johnston fourth with a 103.589mph lap on his Davies Honda.
McGuinness, who starts favourite for this afternoon’s four-lap race, said: “We are in the ball-park with that kind of speed. We were all desperate for track time and on my first lap I had a big moment exiting Union Mills where, on a cold tyre, the thing snapped sideways and I had a near high-side.
“I thought, ‘Oh no, not again’. We got it under control again, although it took me a few miles to get back in the groove.”
The fastest speed of the evening came from Dean Harrison with a 121.523mph on his Classic TT Superbike Silicone Engineering Kawasaki on his second lap.
That put him 20 seconds clear of Horst Saiger at 119.457mph, with Derek Sheils, back on track for his first meeting since Skerries, lapping at 118.975mph in a Kawasaki 1-2-3.
Conor Cummins took the Padgetts 500cc YZR Grand Prix Yamaha into fourth with a 118.415mph lap, seven seconds clear of Paul Jordan at 117.700mph on the Mistral Kawasaki.
Adam McLean continued his good form with the fastest Classic TT Lightweight lap at 114.471mph on a 250cc Yamaha, which was over four seconds ahead of Harrison on the LayLaw 250cc Yamaha at 114.471mph.
Johnston was third fastest with 111.222mph.
McLean was second fastest in the Classic Junior TT at 97.037mph, over a minute behind Jamie Coward who had the only ton-plus lap at 101.744mph.
A strong Irish contingent in the Manx Lightweight class saw Andy Farrell fastest at 114.794mph from a standing start, with David Lumsden and James Chawke in third and fourth respectively behind Spaniard Victor Lopez Santos.
Nigel Moore from Dungannon was second fastest in the Ultra Lightweight class, and Farrell and Chawke second and third fastest respectively in the Junior Manx with Darryl Tweed fifth.
There are two races scheduled for today after more practice, the Classic Senior TT at 12.45pm and Classic Lightweight TT at 4.25pm, both over four laps.
Meanwhile, at Portimao in Portugal, reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea returned from a long summer break to head the two-day test on his Team Kawasaki, dipping under the lap record with a 1m 41.192secs in scorching heat, 1.372secs inside team-mate Tom Sykes’ 2013 record time.
On a Pirelli qualifying tyre, Rea was almost a second clear of the Yamaha duo of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark, with the Ducatis of Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies fourth and fifth.
It was a tough two days for Milwaukee Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty, who ended the test in 11th position after completing some 146 laps, four places behind his Italian team-mate Lorenzo Savadori.