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2023 Isle of Man TT | Michael Dunlop sweeps the board as TT Qualifying kicks off

Tim Keeton/Impact Images
Michael Dunlop, Hawk Honda, Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, 2023 Isle of Man TT, IoM TT, action [credit: Tim Keeton/Impact Images]

Michael Dunlop headed up the first official qualifying session as the 2023 Isle of Man TT got underway, leading the way in all four solo categories.

Under sunny skies on the Manx island, Dunlop looked in fine fettle on both the MD Hawk Racing Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade and his self-entered MD Racing Yamaha R6, out-pacing main rivals Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman.

With all three riders already exceeding the 130mph mark on the first proper day of TT action, Dunlop - who has joined Hawk Racing in swapping from Suzuki to Honda machinery this season - topped out at 131.782mph.


Less than a second split him and second place man Harrison, the DAO Kawasaki rider hitting 131.674secs, with Hickman third on the Monster Energy FHO BMW M 1000 RR clocking 131.254mph.

Fan favourite John McGuinness was also nudging 130mph out the gate on the sole remaining Honda Racing entry, with fifth and seventh place Milenco by Padgetts Honda duo Conor Cummins (129.081mph) and Davey Todd (128.211mph) sandwiching KTS Honda’s Jamie Coward in sixth (129.017mph)

Top Yamaha rider was OMG Racing’s James Hillier (127.581mph) in eighth, with the top ten rounded out by Rob Hodson on the SMT Honda in ninth (126.848mph) and Michael Rutter tenth riding the Bathams Honda (125.888mph).

It was a similar story in the Superstock class with Dunlop crossing the 130mph marker himself with a 130.426mph lap of the 37-mile Snaefell Mountain Course.

He was trailed by TT returnee Josh Brookes, who opened his campaign with a 126.404mph lap on the stock-spec FHO BMW M 1000 RR, with Phillip Crowe (Nigel Appleyard/Agri Wash BMW) and Mike Browne (Burrows/RK BMW) in third place.

Moving onto the MD Yamaha, Dunlop was quickest in Supersport too, clocking a 127.019, ahead of Hickman on his eponymous Triumph STR765 entry and Harrison on his DAO Kawasaki ZX-6R. Padgetts duo Todd and Cummins completed the top five.

He made it a Bank Holiday quadruple as one of the few riders to get out on their Supertwin machine, Dunlop leading the way on the Paton with a 122.907mph best lap. Coward (KTS Kawasaki) and Brian McCormack (Global Robots Aprilia)  completed the top three.

Of the rookies making their debut at the 2023 TT, Finland's Erno Kostamo made a promising start with a best effort 115.468mph, with ex-WorldSSP rider Matthieu Lagrive next up with a 111.839mph lap.

In the Sidecar category, Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley headed up the Birchall brothers - Ben and Tom - with a top time of 117.431mph, just under three seconds ahead of the siblings.

Action continues on Tuesday 30 May with Qualifying 2 getting underway at 18.30

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