Local newcomers Marcus Simpson and Joe Yeardsley made the headlines in the two qualifying sessions held on Thursday. 

In the contingency session during the afternoon, implemented after the loss of the Wednesday evening practice, Michael Dunlop set the first 126mph plus lap of the week on the Team Classic Suzuki Superbike. 

John McGuinness (110.574mph) was quickest in the Classic Senior class with Daniel Ingham the best of the Senior MGP riders and Dunlop also topping the Lightweight leaderboard lapping at 119.775mph and 116.535mph respectively. 

Laxey-raised Yeardsley lapped at 117.373mph on the ILR Paton, almost nine seconds inside Francesco Curinga’s official Supertwin/Junior lap record from 12 months ago. 

Nathan Harrison’s Ashcourt Racing Honda only made it as far as the bottom of Bray Hill before pulling off the course with Mike Browne (Davies Motorsport Yamaha) stopping at Ballacraine. Riders at the start line were then held for a short while as the course was inspected at St Ninian’s for course contamination.   

Dunlop was again setting the pace though, completing the opening lap at 126.046mph, and he was followed over the line by Dean Harrison (123.896mph), McCormack (122.652mph), Craig Neve (123.687mph) and Hodson (122.557mph).  

Daniel Ingham (Russell Brook/Brook Built Yamaha) 118.894mph, Simpson 118.619mph and Tom Robinson 118.578mph shot to the top of the Senior MGP leaderboard, with Victor Lopez 118.486mph and Yeardsley 118.362mph fourth and fifth. 

After setting the fastest lap of the week in the Senior MGP class at 120.8mph, Simpson had a minor dismount at Creg-Ny-Baa after taking the slip road.  He was OK. 

Local riders Marc Colvin and Jamie Williams round Cronk-ny-Mona on their 650 Kawasakis during Wednesday evening's Junior MGP qualifying session
Local riders Marc Colvin and Jamie Williams round Cronk-ny-Mona on their 650 Kawasakis during Wednesday evening's Junior MGP qualifying session (Mark Falconer)

After a near-two hour break, riders again took to the course for the evening session which appeared to be quite poorly-supported in general, despite the continued good conditions. 

Harrison also topped the Classic Senior leaderboard with a lap of 110.248mph on the Craven Manx Norton.  

Having steadily raised his average speed, session on session, Simpson became the first newcomer to lap at 120mph this year. He did 120.211mph from a standing start on his Yamaha R6, then went even quicker on lap two at 120.813mph - the best Senior lap of the week that far. 

He was later joined by fellow local Yeardsley at 120.116mph, while yet another local rookie, David Rigby of Douglas, continued to impress at 117.035mph, sixth quickest. 

The Classic Senior, Lightweight and Junior machines got their session underway shortly after 7.15 and Yeardsley, Simpson and Bottalico matched each other through the majority of the sectors in the latter. 

It was Maurizio Bottalico who was quickest on his Paton with a lap of 115.239mph followed by Yeardsley and Andrea Majola (both 114.532mph), Marc Colvin (113.733mph) and fellow local Jamie Williams (113.654mph) although the latter increased his speed to 113.956mph on his second lap.  

In the Lightweights, the running order was Daniel Sayle (112.264mph), Stuart Hall (111.389mph), Gareth Arnold (111.303mph) and Michal Dokoupil (110.542mph), while Harrison lapped at 108.384mph on his opening lap on the Craven Manx Norton before upping his speed to 110.248mph second time round. 

Daniel Ingham was fastest in the Ultra-Lightweight class with a lap of 104.937mph, followed by Andy McAllister (102.301mph) and Leon Murphy (101.037mph). 

Dean Harrison gave a warning to Michael Dunlop that he won’t have it all his own way in Monday’s Classic Superbike race as he topped the leaderboard with an impressive 125.597mph on the Key Racing Ducati, comparing favourably to Dunlop’s 126.046mph of earlier in the day.