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TT 2016: Dunlop makes history with Superbike victory

Michael Dunlop set a stunning new 133mph outright lap record on his way to victory in the RST Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT.
Michael Dunlop tore the record books apart as he dominated the opening RST Superbike race with an historic 133mph record-breaking performance to claim his 12th Isle of Man TT success.

In the fastest six-lap race in TT history, Tyco BMW's Ian Hutchinson finished as the runner-up with 23-time winner John McGuinness taking third on the Honda Racing Fireblade.

Dunlop stole the show as he shattered McGuinness's outright lap record from a standing start on his Hawk Racing BMW Superbike with a staggering lap around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course of 133.369mph – the first time anyone had ever cracked the 133mph bracket.

He also achieved the first sub-17 minute lap with his fearsome opener in 16m 58.439s, but Dunlop stretched the outright lap even further on lap two, upping the benchmark to 133.393mph (16m 58.254s).

His race-winning time of 1h 44m 14.259s was remarkable 1m 15.643s inside the old race record.

It was a devastating display by the Ulster rider, who ultimately put the race to bed after those two explosive laps, with chief threat Hutchinson – who started 20 seconds in front of Dunlop on the road – trailing by seven seconds.

Following the first pit stop, Dunlop continued to extend his advantage and was now 15 seconds clear of Hutchy at Glen Helen with McGuinness moving into third from Bradford's Dean Harrison, who was in contention for the podium on the opening two laps on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.

William Dunlop retired at Union Mills on lap three as he held eighth place on his Yamaha R1, but all eyes were on his younger brother, who was now catching Hutchinson and McGuinness on the road after they started at numbers 4 and 1 respectively.

James Hillier had been as high as third but an electrical problem saw the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki rider drop down the order and he eventually finished 11th.

Behind the leading trio, Harrison was running in fourth, a long way back, with James Hillier on the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki and Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) next.

Dunlop was running a hot pace on his S1000RR and lapped at 131.06mph on lap four to catch and pass Hutchinson and McGuinness on the road and following the final round of pit stops, his lead was now up to 21 seconds by the time they reached Glen Helen on the penultimate lap.

McGuinness was solid in third having nailed down the position from Harrison, who was coming under increasing pressure from Hickman, with only one-third-of-a-second between them at the end of lap five.

Dunlop simply had to nurse his BMW home on the sixth and final lap and he did just that to wrap up a memorable win, crossing the finish line on Glencrutchery Road with 19 seconds in hand over Hutchinson.

His final lap was 132.676mph, underlining the scorching pace in the first race of the 2016 festival, held in warm and sunny conditions on the Isle of Man.

McGuinness completed the podium places on the CBR1000RR Fireblade with Hickman firing in a final lap of 132.465mph to take fourth from Harrison.

Hickman was having his first TT race on a full-blown Superbike after previously riding Superstock-spec BMW machines in 2013 and 2014.

Michael Rutter rode a solid race on the Bathams SMT BMW as the 'Blade' rounded out the top six, while Aussie David Johnson excelled on the Norton, finishing seventh after a hot final lap of 130.872mph on the SG5.

Kiwi Bruce Anstey, feeling the effects of his crash at Keppel Gate during Thursday practice, was eighth on the exotic Honda RC213V-S.

Anstey also set his first 130mph lap on the Valvoline Padgetts-run MotoGP replica with a speed of 130.789mph.

There was major disappointment for Manx favourite Conor Cummins, who was a retirement on the Honda Racing Fireblade on lap one at Ballaugh.

Cameron Donald also retired on Wilson Craig's Honda at the start of the first lap at Quarterbridge.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Dunlop on the Hawk Racing BMW Superbike at the Isle of Man TT.
Gary Johnson will run his own team at TT 2017.
Lee Johnston has teamed up with Ryan Farquhar to race a KMR Kawasaki in the NI Air Ambulance colours at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Josh Brookes has signed to ride for Norton at the Isle of Man TT in 2017.
Dan Hegarty won the TT Privateers Championship in 2016.
Peter Hickman will ride for Smiths Racing in 2017 at the international road races and in the British Superbike Championship.
Michael Rutter and John McGuinness during the pre-event press conference ahead of the 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 during the Classic Superbike race at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey won the Lightweight race at the Classic TT on the Padgetts Honda RS250.
John McGuinness on the Winfield Paton at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts RS250 Honda at the Classic TT.
Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts RS250 Honda at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 at the Classic TT.

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June 04, 2016 8:21 PM

fireblaze: Coming from a TT newbie .... why is top speed given so much importance in TT rather than lap time?
It's average speed over a lap. A 37 and three-quarter mile lap on town and country roads, through villages, under trees and over moors. In under 17 minutes. And you have to go past pubs without stopping.

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