Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson almost clocked a 130mph lap during opening Superbike practice for the Isle of Man TT on Monday night.
In glorious conditions, 11-times TT winner Hutchy set a benchmark of 129.964mph on his fourth lap on the factory-backed S1000RR, narrowly edging out Ulsterman Michael Dunlop by 2.3 seconds.
Dunlop set his best lap on his Hawk Racing BMW on his fourth lap with a speed of 129.670mph from a standing start.
The 27-year-old had headed the times from the outset, managing 127.935mph on his first lap before switching to his MD Racing BMW Superstock machine and posting a speed of 126.726mph.
Honda Racing’s John McGuinness then roared to the top of the times on the CBR1000RR Fireblade, lapping at 128.871mph on his second lap of the 37.73-mile course.
However, Dunlop upped the ante again when he switched back to his Superbike machine for his second lap on the Hawk Racing BMW, blazing around the island’s roads at 129.023mph from a standing start before nudging 129.497mph on his first flying lap.
As Dunlop pitted to make a change, Bingley Bullet Hutchinson – who mounted a stunning victory comeback with a sensational hat-trick last year – laid down a marker as the 36-year-old raised the bar to 129.964mph on his fourth and final lap.
With minutes remaining, Dunlop – who has won three times in the Superbike class at the TT – went back out for one final lap and came within a whisker of Bingley Bullet Hutchinson’s time from a standing start, setting his fastest lap in 129.670mph as he was flagged in at the end of the session.
Morecambe Missile McGuinness’s second lap of 128.871mph was good enough for third place as the 44-year-old outright lap record holder eases himself into the groove on the factory-supported Fireblade.
Bradford’s Dean Harrison, who topped the Supersport times on Saturday evening, impressed again to go fourth overall on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki Superstock machine with a lap of 128.044mph, with Manx rider Conor Cummins fifth quickest on the Honda Racing Fireblade (127.241mph).
Flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey lived up to the hype surrounding the exotic MotoGP-based Honda RCV213V-S as the Valvoline Padgetts-backed racer was timed through the speed trap at Sulby at 193.4mph.
Anstey slotted into sixth place overall on the time sheets after a strong first run out on the £138,000 V4, lapping at 127.071mph with the promise of much more to come from the 10-time winner this week.
Harrison again set the pace on his Kawasaki ZX-6R in the Supersport class with a lap of 124.461mph to make it a practice double, with the English rider also quickest on his Superstock machine (128.044mph).
Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston was second fastest on his East Coast/Burdens Triumph 675 at 122.241mph with Steve Mercer going well in third on the Jackson Racing Honda (122.067mph).
Michael Rutter (Bathams SMT Kawasaki) clocked 121.577mph ahead of McGuinness on the second of the Jackson Racing machines (121.440mph), with the top six rounded out by Ivan Lintin, who managed 120.793mph on the Devitt RC Express Kawasaki.
Ballymoney’s William Dunlop, who crashed during his first practice lap on Saturday at Sarah’s Cottage, lapped at 120.381mph on the IC Racing Caffrey Yamaha R6 to go seventh fastest.
The 30-year-old only did one lap on his Supersport Yamaha before finally riding his new R1 Yamaha Superbike for the first time this year, clocking a best lap of 125.182mph to leave him ninth fastest in the Superbike standings.
In the Superstock class, Michael Dunlop did one lap on his MD Racing BMW at 126.726mph leaving him second fastest behind Harrison.
Burton-on-Trent man Peter Hickman was third on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki (125.725mph) after three laps on the ZX-10R, with McGuinness next on his Honda (125.574mph ahead of Steve Mercer (124.881mph).