SUPERSPORT PREVIEW: 130MPH LAP TO COME?
After a record-breaking 2022, this year’s Isle of Man TT Races will again play host to two Monster Energy Supersport Races but after his double victory and new lap record twelve months ago, can anyone stop Michael Dunlop?
Riding the MD Racing Yamaha, Dunlop set a new lap record of 129.475mph on his way to victory in the opening race and another win in the second saw him become the most successful Supersport rider in TT history. With nine wins now to his name, he’s the undoubted favourite for honours this time around.
That doesn’t mean he’ll have it all his own way though, and having been his closest challengers last year, both Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman will be hoping to turn their seconds and thirds into wins.
Harrison has switched from Kawasaki to Yamaha, riding the BPE Russell Racing Yamaha, which he hopes will strengthen his case, with Hickman continuing on the K2 Trooper Triumph by PHR – the Supersport class is the only one Hickman is yet to win…
It's the one he's yet to win... will 2023 be the year for Peter Hickman?
Harrison’s team-mate James Hillier has excellent form in the class, with five podiums to his name, including narrow defeats to Dunlop and Lee Johnston in 2017 and 2019, whilst fellow Yamaha rider Jamie Coward is another rider who’ll be pushing for a podium. Fifth and sixth and a first 127mph+ lap last year show he’s getting ever closer.
The Yamaha YZF-R6 is a popular choice of machine with strong performances also expected from Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing), Mike Browne (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing), James Hind (Bass Tyre Services) and Rob Hodson (SMT Racing/Vehicle Recovery Services).
Honda have two great chances of success in the shape of the Milenco by Padgetts duo Davey Todd and Conor Cummins, and they’re ably supported by David Johnson (C&L Fairburn Properties/Jackson Racing) and John McGuinness (SMT Racing/Blue Earth Construction), with Shaun Anderson and Michael Evans also riding the CBR600RR.
Davey Todd and his Manx teammate Conor Cummins have a good chance
Hickman’s team-mate Pierre-Yves Bian and Craig Neve (Bathams Racing) give Triumph strength in depth and although not the favoured choice of machine, Dominic Herbertson will ensure Kawasaki are well to the fore, the Cowton Racing rider having taken eighth and ninth in the two corresponding races last year.
Matt Stevenson has a great opportunity at Dafabet Racing whilst former World Endurance Champion Matthieu Lagrive and the Manx pairing of Ryan Cringle and Jorge Halliday should be the leading newcomers.