TT 2015: Farquhar fastest as opening practice hit by rain

Ryan Farquhar led the way in the Lightweight class from Gary Johnson as practice commenced for the 2015 Isle of Man TT, with poor weather forcing a premature halt to the opening session of the festival.
TT 2015: Farquhar fastest as opening practice hit by rain

Saturday evening's opening practice session for the 2015 Isle of Man TT was ended prematurely as the weather closed in, but not before Ryan Farquhar set his fastest ever lap in the Lightweight session to head the solo times at 117.12mph.

The Lightweight machines completed a full session although with rain beginning to fall at various parts of the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson called an early halt to proceedings, with the F2 Sidecars forced to wait until Monday evening for their first laps.

The evening commenced with a speed controlled lap for the solo and sidecar newcomers and TT rider liaison officer Richard 'Milky' Quayle - the 2002 Lightweight TT winner - led the solos away with Tom McHale, Robbin Harms and Franck Petricola setting off behind him.

The second Rider Liaison Officer, John Barton, took out his Lightweight machine with Derek McGee, Dan Harrison and Geoffrey Vankoekelnbergh all similarly mounted as they experienced their first taste of the legendary course on closed roads.

Soon after it was the turn of the F2 Sidecar newcomers with seasoned regulars Roy Hanks/Kevin Perry, John Holden/Dan Sayle and Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Milligan showing the 12 debutantes around including Terry O'Reilly/Aidan Browne, Alan Warden/Stuart Clark and Pascal Gassmann/Olivier Chabloz.

Also out on track was reigning British F1 Champion Sean Hegarty, who was making his first appearance at the TT since 1996. James Neave partnered him with their 675cc Triumph outfit certainly standing out.

At 6.57pm the first official session blasted off with the Lightweight machines powering down Glencrutchery Road, with Jamie Hamilton and Michael Sweeney having the honour of being first away.

They were followed in quick succession by Junior Manx Grand Prix winner Andy Lawson and Dan Cooper, Michael Rutter and James Hillier and Ivan Lintin and Martin Jessopp.

All of the newcomers were soon back out on the course with Hillier quickest through the Sulby speed trap at 156mph on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki ER6.

The first rider to complete the lap was Ulsterman Hamilton on John Burrows' Kawasaki at 112.19mph swiftly followed by Sweeney (111.18mph) and Lintin on the RC Express Kawasaki, who briefly went quickest at 114.64mph.

Hillier also lapped in excess of 112mph but the quickest two riders on the opening lap were Lincolnshire's Gary Johnson on the WK Bikes CF Moto machine and Farquhar on the SGS/KMR Kawasaki.

The duo had left the line together and lapped at 114.866mph and 114.827mph respectively with Lee Johnston, also riding a Kawasaki for Farquhar's SGS/KMR Kawasaki team, going well at 113.32mph.

On the second lap Farquhar and Johnson were still circulating together and increased their speeds with the Ulster road racing star going to the top of the early leaderboard at 117.12mph to post his fastest ever lap on a Lightweight machine.

Johnson wasn't far behind at 117.02mph with Lintin also improving to 116.60mph.

North West 200 Superstock race winner Johnston upped his pace to 115.40mph with Cooper slotting into fifth overall at 113.41mph.

Meanwhile, newcomer McGee was going well on his Lightweight Kawasaki at 107.60mph with McHale, continuing on his Superstock machine, also impressing at 108.12mph.

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