TT launch night at the Villa next Thursday

Wednesday 15th March 2017 4:43 pm
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Last year's TT launch at the Villa Marina - Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness talk to the host Jamie Whitam ()

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The traditional 2017 curtain raiser to the TT will take place at the Villa Marina next week on the evening of Thursday, March 23.

For many fans it will be the first opportunity to hear the thoughts of the leading contenders for honours now that the closed season behind the scenes negotiations have virtually been completed.

This year’s launch will feature a new theatre style seating format, and be hosted by well-known TV commentator and ex-rider James Whitham, with support from co-presenter and former TT winner Steve Plater.

Among the hot topics will be the ongoing rivalry between Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson and the explosive Michael Dunlop. Last year they shared five wins between them, but it wasn’t without some controversy.

Honda Racing’s John McGuinness will be looking to extend his tally of 23 wins on the new Honda Fireblade, and will no doubt offer some interesting insights into his new team-mate Guy Martin.

Former team-mate at Honda, Manxman Conor Cummins will be unveiling his plans for 2017, as will double Supersport TT winner Gary Johnson.

Other leading names will include Ivan Lintin, Dean Harrison, Michael Rutter, James Hillier and Lee Johnston, who has switched to Jackson Racing for all classes.

Peter Hickman, the TT’s fastest ever newcomer, is another to switch team and manufacturer, joining the Smiths Racing BMW outfit for 2017.

Manxman Dan Kneen has teamed up with Rico Penzcofer’s Penz13.com outfit on factory supported BMWs for the big bike races.

The Norton duo of David Johnson and the returning Josh Brookes will be jetting in from Australia, while fellow Antipodean Bruce Anstey is again expected to ride for Batley-based Padgetts.

In the sidecar class, 17-time winner Dave Molyneux will be looking to put last year’s disappointment behind him on his all-new Yamaha with Dan Sayle.

Whilst Ben and Tom Birchall maintain their fraternal partnership, it’s all change for last year’s other sidecar race winning driver John Holden who has teamed up with Manxman Lee Cain.

World champion Tim Reeves will be discussing his strategy for adding to his 2013 race win and his new TT partnership with Mark Wilkes.

Newcomers will include Joe Thompson, Adam McLean and Paul Jordan.

One extra surprise announcement of a high-profile rider making a welcome comeback will be also be announced on the night.

Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start, with tickets - priced at £5 - are available from the Villa Marina box office at www.villagaiety.com

You can also watch the proceedings on a live stream hosted on iomtt.com.

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