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2023 Isle of Man TT | Michael Dunlop smashes TT lap record with new 135.531mph best

Tim Keeton/Impact Images

Michael Dunlop ramped up anticipation ahead of race week for the 2023 Isle of Man TT by upsetting bookies' favourite Peter Hickman to both top the leaderboard at the end of qualifying practice and set a new lap record of The Mountain Course.

Coming on the fifth and final day of qualifying practice this week, Dunlop saved his best for last as he tucked in for a scintillating new benchmark of 135.531mph, comfortably exceeding the erstwhile best of 135.452mph achieved by Hickman in 2018.

Indeed, while most eyes were on pre-race favourite Hickman to see whether he could raise the benchmark on the Monster Energy FHO BMW M 1000 RR, it was instead Dunlop who stole the show on his Hawk Racing Honda CBR1000RR-R.


Already a 21-time winner at the TT, though Dunlop can never be discounted in any class, success has been focused on the Supersport and Supertwins classes in recent editions.

However, a switch of machinery from Suzuki to Honda has seen Dunlop raise his game, with the Ulsterman capitalising on a week of excellent weather conditions on the Manx Island to break the five-year old record.

Even so, while he may court the headlines on Friday evening, it is this week's ten races - of which Dunlop will start eight - where performance matters.

With that in mind, Dunlop has a fight on his hands to turn his pace into the consistency needed over the four laps of the Superbike TT (Sunday 4 June) and the six laps of the Senior TT (Saturday 13 June).

Indeed, Hickman himself wasn't far off his personal best as he ended the week just shy of 135mph, his best a 134.910mph, while Dean Harrison makes it very much a closely-matched three-way fight at the top on the DAO Kawasaki ZX-10RR after posting a 134.216mph.

While the top three has been well defined throughout the week, a big push by Davey Todd in the latter stages saw him climb onto the fringes of the overall fight with a new best of 132.194mph on the Milenco by Padgetts Honda CBR1000RR-R.

23-time TT winner John McGuinness also enjoyed a strong final day of practice to loom inside the top five on his factory Honda, the road racing legend keeping the impressive Jamie Coward (KTS Honda) at bay. Conor Cummins (Milenco by Padgetts Honda) was the last of the seven riders to crack 130mph, but missed the latter stages of the week due to ill health.

Josh Brookes ended his week in eighth as he tickled the magic 130mph mark on the Monster Energy FHO BMW M 1000 RR, the Aussie hitting 129.833mph, while Rob Hodson (SMT Racing) and David Johnson (C&L Fairburn Jackson) made it seven Fireblades inside the top ten.

>>>CLICK HERE for the full 2023 Isle of Man TT Results Classification after Q5<<<

2023 Isle of Man TT - Superbike Classification after Qualifying 5 [Friday 2-6-23]
1Michael DunlopHawk RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R135.531
2Peter HickmanMonster Energy FHO RacingBMW M 1000 RR134.910
3Dean HarrisonDAO RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR134.216
4Davey ToddMilenco by PadgettsHonda CBR1000RR-R132.194
5John McGuinnessHonda Racing UKHonda CBR1000RR-R131.003
6Jamie CowardKTS Racing SteadplanHonda CBR1000RR-R130.945
7Conor CumminsMilenco by PadgettsHonda CBR1000RR-R130.924
8Josh BrookesMonster Energy FHO RacingBMW M 1000 RR129.833
9Rob HodsonSMT RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R129.279
10David JohnsonC&L Fairburn JacksonHonda CBR1000RR-R129.243
11James HillierOMG RacingYamaha R1M129.210
12Michael RutterBathams RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R129.145
13Phillip CroweAppleyard AgriwashHonda CBR1000RR-R128.822
14Shaun AndersonTeam Classic SuzukiSuzuki GSX-R1000R128.331
15Dominic HerbertsonAperoBMW S 1000 RR128.280

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