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Michael Dunlop masterclass earns him first Superbike TT win since 2018

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

Michael Dunlop continued his dream start to the 2023 Isle of Man TT by coming out on top in a heated three-way battle to claim his second win of the week in the Superbike TT, his first on the 'big bike' since 2018.

Less than 24 hours after he opened his 2023 TT campaign with a commanding victory in the first of the week's Supersport races, Dunlop produced another peerless display to prevail in one of the most competitively billed Superbike TT's for some years.

Breaking another record by clocking a 134.519mph lap from a standing start on the Hawk Racing Honda CBR1000RR-R, Dunlop kept the momentum going over the entire six-lap distance to see off a determined late challenge by Peter Hickman.


Just as he did in yesterday's Supersport race, the Monster Energy FHO BMW M 1000 RR rider once again overturned a deficit to Dean Harrison on the final lap to nudge into second at the flag, leaving the Cumbria man to settle for third on the DAO Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

A retirement for Davey Todd ended his hopes of a podium challenge, opening the door instead for James Hillier to take fourth on the OMG Yamaha, with Jamie Coward taking ending up in fifth place.

2 from 2 equals 23 for Dunlop as TT record beckons

With two wins from two of the eight races he will start this week, Dunlop's career TT tally swells to 23 victories, bringing him level with John McGuinness as the joint-second most successful rider at the TT.

With six more races in which to collect more silverware, anticipation is growing that Michael could go on to match or surpass the all-time record holder, his uncle Joey Dunlop. A mantle held by the legendary road racer ever since his death in June 2000, his passing came just a week after clinching his 26th and final TT win.

If anything, Dunlop's performance in the Superbike TT strengthens this notion that he will re-write the history books come next week. Indeed, while Dunlop had always been considered the favourite to win in Supersport, the Superbike class seemed more open.

And so it proved, to a large extent, with Dunlop never being allowed to relax over a gruelling six-lap distance in warm conditions, first by a persistent Harrison and then late on by a flying Hickman.

Even so, just as he had been in the Supersport race, it was Dunlop's instant pace from the off that ultimately earned him the spoils. On the Hawk Honda CBR1000RR-R, Dunlop got the hammer down straight away, opening up a 4.5secs lead over Harrison by Ramsey on lap one, swelling that to 6.2secs by the end of the first lap as he immediately popped into the 134mph bracket.

Harrison gamely gave chase on the DAO Kawasaki, but lost chunks of time in each of the first four revolutions to come into Lap 5 some 22secs adrift.

From here, the spotlight turned to fast approaching Hickman, the Louth rider finding his groove in the latter stages to tap into pace that even Dunlop couldn't match.


Bringing the best out of the erstwhile lap record holder, Hickman blasted around the Mountain on the final lap to very nearly regain his lap record mantle with a stunning 135.445mph effort. Enough to unseat Harrison right at the end for the second race in succession, while Hickman slashed nine seconds from his deficit to Dunlop, it came too late to make him sweat.

As such, it marks a first win at the TT for the new generation Honda Fireblade and sets things up nicely for Dunlop ahead of the Senior TT next weekend, which coupled to his comfortable favourite status in Supertwins too makes Joey's record look very much in range.

Late though his charge was, Hickman will likely take encouragement of a stronger challenge for victory next weekend too, while Harrison was not to be disgraced, just 17secs off the win himself.

Elsewhere, Davey Todd put in a spirited podium challenge initially on the so Milenco by Padgetts Honda, the team still down to one bike while it waits for Conor Cummins to recover from illness.


Trading positions with Hickman for third early on, Todd had settled in fourth before technical issues forced him to pull in to retire at the end of the third lap.

His misfortune spelled good luck for James Hillier, the road racing veteran enjoying a competitive outing on the OMG Yamaha R1 to bring it home in fourth place, while Jamie Coward notched up his second top five finish of the week thus far on the KTS Racing Honda.

Having clocked the fifth best lap coming into the race day, John McGuinness couldn't quite keep himself in the top five but still impressed on the factory Honda to notch up another solid finish in his 105th TT start.

Competing in his first TT in five years, Josh Brookes dusted off the rust with a competitive performance on the Monster Energy FHO BMW M 1000 RR, the Aussie bringing it home in seventh, ahead of Dominic Herbertson, who pedalled his more 'standard' BMW S 1000 RR to eighth.

Late issues for Rob Hodson allowed Michael Rutter to tick off another top ten finish at the TT on the Bathams Honda, while Shaun Anderson flew the flag for Suzuki on the Team Classic Gixxer in tenth.

Attention in the Superbike ranks now turns to the blue riband Senior TT, the grand finale of this year's Isle of Man TT taking place at 12.15 on Saturday 10 June.

2023 Isle of Man TT - Superbike TT Race 1 FULL RESULTS

2023 Isle of Man TT - Superbike TT Race 1 Results [Saturday 04-06-23]
1Michael DunlopHawk RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
2Peter HickmanMonster Energy FHO RacingBMW M 1000 RR
3Dean HarrisonDAO RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR
4James HillierOMG RacingYamaha R1M
5Jamie CowardKTS Racing SteadplanHonda CBR1000RR-R
6John McGuinnessHonda Racing UKHonda CBR1000RR-R
7Josh BrookesMonster Energy FHO RacingBMW M 1000 RR
8Dominic HerbertsonAperoBMW S 1000 RR
9Michael RutterBathams RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
10Shaun AndersonTeam Classic SuzukiSuzuki GSX-R1000R
11David JohnsonC&L Fairburn JacksonHonda CBR1000RR-R
12James HindNorth Lincs ComponentsSuzuki GSX-R1000R
13Phillip CroweAppleyard AgriwashHonda CBR1000RR-R
14Brian McCormackRoadhouse Macau by FHOBMW M 1000 RR
15Mike BrowneBurrows RK RacingBMW M 1000 RR
16Paul JordanPrez Racing by ProsperYamaha R1M
17Samuel WestStreet Diner RacingBMW S 1000 RR
18Julian TrummerWH Racing with DynobikeHonda CBR1000RR-R
19Michael EvansMichael Evans RacingSuzuki GSX-R1000R
20Stephen SmithDP Coldplaning TC RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
21Mark Parrett
22Stefano BonettiSpeed MotorHonda CBR1000RR-R
23Richard WilsonKH HireHonda CBR1000RR-R
24Forest DunnForest DunnYamaha R1M
25Michael RussellPipewerx ExhaustsBMW S 1000 RR
26Raul Torres MartinezToll Racing TeamHonda CBR1000RR-R
27Allann VenterLekka Racing SandtonBMW S 1000 RR
28Mark GoodingsSteady Away RacingKawasaki ZX-10R
29Rhys Hardisty
30James ChawkeChawkie RacingSuzuki GSX-R1000R
31Baz FurberDC Motorcycles NewtownBMW S 1000 RR
32Dave HewsonObsession EngineeringBMW S 1000 RR
33Chris SarboraMotohub UKBMW S 1000 RR
DNFRob HodsonSMT RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R
DNFXavier DenisPerformanX Racing TeamYamaha R1
DNFErno Kostamo38 Motorsports SyntainicsBMW S 1000 RR
DNFJonathan PerryGordon Huxley RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR
DNFRennie ScaysbrookWilson Craig RacingHonda CBR1000RR
DNFDavey ToddMilenco by PadgettsHonda CBR1000RR-R
DNFTimothee Monot
DNFDavid DatzerMTP Syntainics Penz 13BMW M 1000 RR
DNFCraig NeveBathams RacingHonda CBR1000RR
DNFRyan CringleAGR MotorsportsHonda CBR1000RR-R
DNFAnthony RedmondReds Garage IOMBMW S 1000 RR
DNFAmalric BlancTeam B&M / Team Gazzz 58BMW S 1000 RR
DNSConor CumminsMilenco by PadgettsHonda CBR1000RR-R
DNSPaul Potchy WilliamsPotchy's MOT StationSuzuki GSX-R1000R
DNSMatthieu LagriveOptimark Road RacingYamaha R1

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