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2023 Isle of Man TT Q4 | Hickman raises bar but Dunlop, Harrison stay close

Tim Keeton/Impact Images

Peter Hickman returned to the summit of the timesheets ahead of race week for the 2023 Isle of Man TT, though there remains little to choose between the breakaway top three with just one day of qualifying practice remaining.

After Dean Harrison took his turn up top with his quickest Superbike lap of the week on Wednesday, he found himself back to third after both Hickman and Michael Dunlop leapfrogged him with evenly-matched personal best laps of the Snaefell Mountain Course.

It was Hickman on the Monster Energy FHO Racing BMW M 1000 RR that shook out in front with a new benchmark of 133.797mph, the Louth rider notably posting two laps above 133.5mph in a demonstration of both speed and consistency.


That said, Dunlop very nearly got the better of him after switching from his Superstock-spec Hawk Honda CBR1000RR-R to the Superbike version late on, the 21-time TT race winner ending up just short of Hickman with a still impressive 133.775mph effort.

Harrison didn’t improve on his best lap from Wednesday but with the DAO Kawasaki ZX-10RR holding firm with a 133.514mph lap, it equates to just six seconds separating the top three over 37.7 miles.

Elsewhere, Davey Todd was among several riders to improve on their best laps during Thursday evening’s session, the Milenco by Padgetts Honda rider hitting 131.561mph to hold down fourth, ahead of Jamie Coward (KTS Honda) and Conor Cummins, the Manxman still sixth overall despite skipping QP4 due to feeling unwell.

John McGuinness remains the seventh and last rider to crack the magic 130mph barrier, though BSB favourite Josh Brookes found himself very close to making it an octet as he posted a 129.833mph effort to surge up to eighth in the Superbike class. James Hillier and Michael Rutter - another to make a big improvement - round out the overall SBK top ten.

Despite being pipped to the top time in Superbike, Dunlop was quickest in both Superstock and Supersport on Thursday evening. His Supersport effort of 127.557mph was enough to topple Peter Hickman off the top of the overall timesheets, the pair being chased now by Coward on the KTS Yamaha R6, Dean Harrison on the DAO Kawasaki ZX-6R and Todd on the Milenco by Padgetts Honda CBR600RR.

In Superstock, Hickman remains fastest overall, though Dunlop has reduced the margin in second with his 132.728mph effort, ahead of Harrison and Todd, while James Hillier posted his first 130mph+ lap of the week on the stock OMG Yamaha to hold fifth in class.

In the Sidecar class, Ben and Tom Birchall remain out front after improving their benchmark to 119.414mph, ahead of Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley, who also made gains with a 118.159mph effort.

CLICK HERE for full results from the 2023 Isle of Man TT after Qualifying 4

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