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]|
|1||Michael Dunlop||Hawk Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|2||Peter Hickman||Monster Energy FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|
|3||Dean Harrison||DAO Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|4||James Hillier||OMG Racing||Yamaha R1M|
|5||Jamie Coward||KTS Racing Steadplan||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|6||John McGuinness||Honda Racing UK||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|7||Josh Brookes||Monster Energy FHO Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|
|8||Dominic Herbertson||Apero||BMW S 1000 RR|
|9||Michael Rutter||Bathams Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|10||Shaun Anderson||Team Classic Suzuki||Suzuki GSX-R1000R|
|11||David Johnson||C&L Fairburn Jackson||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|12||James Hind||North Lincs Components||Suzuki GSX-R1000R|
|13||Phillip Crowe||Appleyard Agriwash||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|14||Brian McCormack||Roadhouse Macau by FHO||BMW M 1000 RR|
|15||Mike Browne||Burrows RK Racing||BMW M 1000 RR|
|16||Paul Jordan||Prez Racing by Prosper||Yamaha R1M|
|17||Samuel West||Street Diner Racing||BMW S 1000 RR|
|18||Julian Trummer||WH Racing with Dynobike||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|19||Michael Evans||Michael Evans Racing||Suzuki GSX-R1000R|
|20||Stephen Smith||DP Coldplaning TC Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|22||Stefano Bonetti||Speed Motor||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|23||Richard Wilson||KH Hire||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|24||Forest Dunn||Forest Dunn||Yamaha R1M|
|25||Michael Russell||Pipewerx Exhausts||BMW S 1000 RR|
|26||Raul Torres Martinez||Toll Racing Team||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|27||Allann Venter||Lekka Racing Sandton||BMW S 1000 RR|
|28||Mark Goodings||Steady Away Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10R|
|30||James Chawke||Chawkie Racing||Suzuki GSX-R1000R|
|31||Baz Furber||DC Motorcycles Newtown||BMW S 1000 RR|
|32||Dave Hewson||Obsession Engineering||BMW S 1000 RR|
|33||Chris Sarbora||Motohub UK||BMW S 1000 RR|
|DNF||Rob Hodson||SMT Racing||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNF||Xavier Denis||PerformanX Racing Team||Yamaha R1|
|DNF||Erno Kostamo||38 Motorsports Syntainics||BMW S 1000 RR|
|DNF||Jonathan Perry||Gordon Huxley Racing||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|DNF||Rennie Scaysbrook||Wilson Craig Racing||Honda CBR1000RR|
|DNF||Davey Todd||Milenco by Padgetts||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNF||David Datzer||MTP Syntainics Penz 13||BMW M 1000 RR|
|DNF||Craig Neve||Bathams Racing||Honda CBR1000RR|
|DNF||Ryan Cringle||AGR Motorsports||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNF||Anthony Redmond||Reds Garage IOM||BMW S 1000 RR|
|DNF||Amalric Blanc||Team B&M / Team Gazzz 58||BMW S 1000 RR|
|DNS||Conor Cummins||Milenco by Padgetts||Honda CBR1000RR-R|
|DNS||Paul Potchy Williams||Potchy's MOT Station||Suzuki GSX-R1000R|
|DNS||Matthieu Lagrive||Optimark Road Racing||Yamaha R1|