Dunlop dominates Wednesday qualifying

Michael Dunlop roars through Cronk-ny-Mona on his way to posting an excellent 131.574mph during Wednesdays qualifying session (Photo: Mike Quayle)

Michael Dunlop roars through Cronk-ny-Mona on his way to posting an excellent 131.574mph during Wednesdays qualifying session (Photo: Mike Quayle)

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Michael Dunlop threw down the gauntlet with the fastest lap of the TT so far at an excellent 131.574mph during Wednesday’s qualifying session, bettering Ian Hutchinson’s time set the previous evening.

Although Dunlop dominated, Hutchinson was again above 130mph setting his quickest lap of the night on his Superstock machine at 130.745mph.

It was expected that with the strong winds on the Mountain section, speeds would be slightly down on the previous night’s action, although it soon became apparent that that wasn’t the case with a series of 129mph+ laps from a standing start.

Michael Rutter was first back to the Grandstand with a lap of 129.163mph swiftly followed by Peter Hickman and Steve Mercer who were both in the 127mph bracket. However, Dean Harrison briefly went quickest at 129.673mph before Hutchinson upstaged him with 129.811mph. Dunlop was only slightly behind him though at 129.582mph with John McGuinness and Lee Johnston both having lapped at more than 128mph.

Rutter continued to lead on the road although his second lap was slightly slower at 128.793 and Mercer improved to 128.672. Harrison also went marginally quicker with 129.742 with James Hillier also faster at 128.238. McGuinness did the first 130mph+ lap of the night at 130.497 but Hutchinson was quicker still with a speed of 130.691mph.

Ramsey Rockey Conor Cummins’s strong qualifying continued with a lap of 129.764 but Dunlop’s second lap was down in the 127s as he switched to his Superstock mount. A number of riders reported how strong the winds were not only over the Mountain but also in places like Kirk Michael.

As the session wore on, the riders swapped between their Superbike and Superstock machines with Hutchinson opening with 129.199mph on his Superstock machine before his 130mph+ lap.

However, Dunlop elected to go back onto his Superbike machine and set the first 131mph+ lap of the week with Hutchinson on his Superstock BMW topping the leaderboard from Rutter.

The newcomer speeds again continued to improve led by Jochem van den Hoek once more. The Dutchman lapped at 116.50mph, the fastest newcomer lap of the week, but Alessandro Polita and Seamus Elliott were both above the 113mph mark with Forrest Dunn, Michael Booth and Josh Daley all above 111mph, with Daley’s time set on his Supersport machine.

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