Antrim's John Simpson showed he has solid claims of a podium finish in tomorrow's Newcomers A race at the Manx Grand Prix with an impressive lap during practice last night at 113.390mph.

Simpson's time put him in second position at the top of the practice leaderboard for the class, narrowly behind James Cowton, who lapped at 113.719mph.

The Ulster rider, the current British Supersport Cup champion, is making his debut on the Mountain Course under the Splitlath Redmond banner with a view to embarking on his full TT debut in 2013.

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Conditions were again good, although damp patches were reported at Black Dub, Lambfell and Governors Dip.

Manx rider Dan Kneen posted his fastest time of the week in the Classic Superbike class at 112.348mph, just outside Russ Mountford's fastest speed of the week (112.447mph) set on Wednesday.

The two race favourites for next Friday's Classic Superbike race, Northern Ireland pair Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop - both riding 1000cc Suzuki XR69s - did not compete in the session.

Olie Linsdell topped the 500cc Classic times on his Enfield (106.470mph) with Roy Richardson (104.420mph) on the Aermacchi and Chris Palmer (104.350mph) on the Matchless also to the fore.

Palmer also headed the evening's Classic 250 qualifying session with a speed of 100.1mph on his 349cc Honda.

Yorkshireman Jamie Coward continues to lead the way on the modern machines, lapping at 118.220mph, slightly slower than his 119mph lap on Wednesday, which is the fastest of the week so far.

Ulsterman Stephen McKnight was next at 115.100mph followed by Mike Minns (114.440mph) and Michael Sweeney from Skerries near Dublin (113.930mph).

Course rookie Simpson's time on the Triumph 675 put him eighth in the Junior time sheets on Thursday, only a second behind Wayne Kirwan.

A number of incidents were reported, with Keith McKay sustaining a shoulder and rib injury after a crash at Braddan Oak.

Daniel Crozier was airlifted to Nobles Hospital with a shoulder injury following a crash at Kerrowmoar, while Andy Wilson crashed at Tower Bends but was treated at the scene by a travelling marshal and escaped injury.

Final practice takes place this evening ahead of tomorrow's first race of the 2012 festival, the Newcomers A event, which is due for a 5.30pm start.