Ian Hutchinson has cemented his place as a firm challenger for victory in Saturday's Superbike race at the 2010 Isle of Man TT after setting his fastest-ever time around the Mountain Course.

The Yorkshireman took the Padgetts Honda Superbike around the 37.73-mile course at an average speed of 130.165mph during Thursday evening's practice session. He was only slightly slower than the fastest speed of the practice week so far, 130.242mph set by John McGuinness on Wednesday evening.

Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider Bruce Anstey and McGuinness, both on Superbikes, set off towards Bray Hill first, followed by Ian Lougher, Hutchinson, Keith Amor, Cameron Donald, Guy Martin, Adrian Archibald, Conor Cummins and Gary Johnson.

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Nearly all of the leading competitors were on the Superbikes with the exception of Dan Stewart and William Dunlop who opted for their Supersport machines.

Hutchinson completed a first lap at 128.303mphbut it was HM Plant Honda-mounted Amor that was the fastest on the opening lap at 128.691mph, with both Anstey and McGuinness surprisingly off the pace at 121.166mph and 119.827mph respectively.

Archibald and Martin were down in the 123mph bracket with Farquhar and Michael Dunlop also lapping above 125mph.

On the second lap, Hutchinson was really flying - and it showed. He crossed the line to record a lap of 130.165mph, his first ever 130mph-plus lap, with Cummins and Donald also flying at 128.838mph and 128.836mph. Rutter and Dunlop upped their pace, setting personal best laps of 127.564mph and 127.946mph.

Mark Buckley and Steve Mercer, one of the leading newcomers last year, showed they could well be the men to catch in the race for the Privateer's Championship with laps of 124mph-plus.

Many of the leading contenders switched to their 600cc bikes for the second half of the session and it was Amor who went quickest, the Scotsman lapping at 124.797mph on the Kojak Racing Honda. Hutchinson wasn't too far behind at 124.685mph with Martin third at 123.902mph.

David Johnson was again the leading newcomer with a lap of 118.607mph, Stephen Thompson following closely at 117.387mph. Swiss ace Herve Ganther was third fastest with 115.210mph whilst Brian McCormack bounced back from his spill on Wednesday night to lap at 114.326mph, just behind James Hurrell's speed of 114.510. In the 600cc division, Dan Cooper improved to 113.740mph and David Jones posted his first 110mph+ lap at 111.154mph.

In the sidecars, Dave Molyneux and Patrick Farrance were the first to set off, followed quickly by Klaus Klaffenbock/Dan Sayle, Simon Neary/Paul Knapton - who had swapped engines after problems on Wednesday - Conrad Harrison/Kerry Williams and Tim Reeves/Dipash Chauhan.

Gary Bryan, Roy Hanks and Tony Elmer were the next to go with John Holden and Andy Winkle leaving the line slightly further back than where they'd been in previous sessions.

Neary was the quickest through the Sulby speedtrap at 145mph but, as expected, Molyneux was the first to complete the lap at 114.545mph with Klaffenbock and Neary in hot pursuit at 113.377mph and 113.172mph respectively. Harrison lapped at 111.487mph with Reeves and Bryan also above 110mph but Brian Kelly/Dickie Gale were early retirements as were Gordon Shand/Stuart Graham. Elmer wasn't far off at 109.67mph with Holden just above the 111mph mark.

Holden pulled in to change the rear tyre whilst Neary also stopped at the pits to make adjustments before rejoining but Molyneux continued and improved second time around to 115.464mph as did Klaffenbock, the Austrian going quicker than ever before at 114.096mph. Harrison was close to 112mph whilst Reeves, Hanks and Elmer were also above 110mph, the last named breaking the 110mph mark for the first time.

Sidecar team Nigel Mayers and Joseph Shardlow were involved in an incident at Kates Cottage. Mayers was unhurt but Shardlow was taken by airmed to hospital.

Provisional Times:
Poker Stars Superbike TT
1 Ian Hutchinson (1000 Padgetts Honda) - 130.165mph
2 Conor Cummins (1000 McAdoo Kawasaki) - 128.838mph
3 Cameron Donald (1000 Relentless by TAS Suzuki) - 128.836mph
4 Keith Amor (1000 HM Plant Honda) - 128.691mph
5 Michael Rutter (1000 HM Plant Honda) - 127.564mph
6 Michael Dunlop (1000 Robinson Concrete/Street Sweep Honda) - 127.946mph

Monster Energy Supersport TT
1 Keith Amor (600 Kojak Racing Honda) - 124.797mph
2 Ian Hutchinson (600 Padgetts Honda) - 124.685mph
3 Guy Martin (600 Wilson Craig Honda) - 123.902mph
4 Ryan Farquhar (600 KMR Kawasaki) - 122.818mph
5 John McGuinness (600 Padgetts Honda) - 121.172mph
6 Ian Lougher (600 Blackhorse Kawasaki) - 120.663mph

Royal London 360 Superstock TT
1 Michael Rutter (1000cc HM Plant Honda) - 127.564mph
2 Michael Dunlop (1000cc Hunts Motorcycles/Marlow Construction Honda) -
3 Conor Cummins (1000cc McAdoo Kawasaki) - 124.924mph
4 Mark Buckley (1000cc OTSS Racing Kawasaki) - 124.319mph
5 Adrian Archibald (1000cc AMA Racing Suzuki) - 124.232mph
6 Steve Mercer (1000cc G Forces/SMR Road Racing Yamaha) - 124.156mph

Sure Sidecar TT
1 Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance (600 DMR Kawasaki) - 115.464mph
2 Klaus Klaffenbock/Dan Sayle (600 Manx Gas/A&J Racing Honda) - 114.096mph
3 Simon Neary/Paul Knapton (600 Dave Hudspeth Carpets/Nick Crowe Racing
Honda) - 113.172mph
4 Conrad Harrison/Kerry Williams (600 Printer Roller Services Honda) -
5 John Holden/Andy Winkle (600 Holden Racing/TAS Suzuki) - 111.710mph
6 Tim Reeves/Dipash Chauhan (600 Double M/Haith Racing Suzuki) - 110.758mph