TT 2018: Michael Dunlop starts with a flourish in opening practice

Michael Dunlop was second fastest in the first Supersport practice session on his MD Racing Honda. Dunlop also unofficially broke the lap record as he topped the times in the Lightweight class on the Italian Paton machine.
Michael Dunlop was second fastest in the first Supersport practice session on his MD Racing Honda. Dunlop also unofficially broke the lap record as he topped the times in the Lightweight class on the Italian Paton machine.

Michael Dunlop was immediately on the pace as practice for the 2018 Isle of Man TT roared into life on Saturday evening.

The Ballymoney man was second fastest on his MD Racing Honda in the Supersport session, lapping at 125.741mph to leave him only half-a-second down on pacesetter Dean Harrison, who clocked 125.797mph on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.

Bradford's Dean Harrison set the pace in the Supersport session on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki as practice commenced for the Isle of Man TT on Saturday evening.

Bradford's Dean Harrison set the pace in the Supersport session on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki as practice commenced for the Isle of Man TT on Saturday evening.

Dunlop also put down an early marker for the Lightweight race with an unofficial lap record at 120.875mph on the Italian Paton machine.

The 29-year-old led the way from Ivan Lintin (120.66mph) and KMR Kawasaki riders Derek McGee and Peter Hickman, who lapped at 117.57mph and 117.51mph respectively.

Italian rider Stefano Bonetti was next at 117.12mph head of Australian rider David Johnson (117.03mph), who has secured a late deal to ride the RST/KMR Kawasaki for Ryan Farquhar.

In the Supersport class, Manxman Conor Cummins was third fastest on Saturday behind Harrison and Dunlop, setting his best speed at 125.152mph on the Padgett’s Honda.

Dan Kneen (124.703mph) was next on the Jackson Honda ahead of Peter Hickman (124.447mph), who is riding a Trooper Beer Triumph for Smiths Racing. Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston was sixth quickest on the Padgett’s Honda at 123.245mph.

William Dunlop was eighth on the Temple Golf Club/Caffrey Yamaha (122.755mph) behind JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider James Hillier, who clocked 122.967mph.

Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson – who made his road racing return from injury at the North West 200 – was 15th with a lap of 121.327mph on the Padgett’s Honda.

The session was slightly delayed to allow oil to be cleared from the course between Cronk-ny-Mona and Signpost corner.

Newcomer Davey Todd lapped at 116.044mph on the Burrows Engineering Superstock Suzuki but it was Adam Lyon who was the fastest rookie as he lapped at 116.45mph on his 600cc Yamaha.

Japan’s Masayuki Yamanaka came off in the Supersport session at Whitegates.

After being assessed at Ramsey Cottage Hospital and transferred by airmed to Nobles Hospital, Masayuki was reported to have sustained a minor ankle injury.

Practice continues on Monday evening with the Superbike and Superstock machines out for the first time from 6.20pm, with Supersport machines and newcomers (except Lightweight) also part of the session.

From 7.25pm, a session will be held for Supersport, Lightweight and newcomers (all classes), while the Sidecars will be out from 8pm.