TT 2023: Dunlop Is Top Gun In Supersport Opener

TT 2023: Dunlop Is Top Gun In Supersport Opener
The tremendous weather that graced qualifying week, moved into the start of racing at TT 2023 as sun, blue skies, only the odd cloud transcended over Parc Ferme ahead of the Monster Energy Supersport opener.

Fifty racers in total started the four-lap race, which was delayed by three hours due to a road traffic collision.

Adelaide’s David Johnson, carrying the No.1 plate was first to make the descend down Bray Hill followed ten seconds later by Boyce Precision Engineering/Russell Racing’s Dean Harrison.

Lap 1:

Just over three seconds covered the top six at Glen Helen, with the initial pace set by triple TT winner Harrison, leading Michael Dunlop by only 0.550 of a second.

At Ballaugh Bridge Dunlop grabbed the initiative, slotting into P1, moving 1.571 in front of Harrison with outright lap record holder Peter Hickman a further 1.883 seconds behind.

By the Bungalow R6 Yamaha pilot Dunlop lead had extended to 4.493 seconds.

Harrison now first on the road, was first to finish lap 1, going through at 127.643 mph.

Soon after race leader Dunlop sped through Glencrutchery Road, averaging for lap 1, 128.305 mph – 17:38.632 seconds.

5.488 separated Dunlop and Harrison, Hickman maintained third with Jamie Coward, Davey Todd, James Hillier wrapping up the first six.

Lap 2:

4 minutes 19.389 seconds, this was Dunlop’s sector time to Glen Helen, inside the existing Supersport lap record.

9.454 clear at Ballaugh Bridge, ‘Maverick’ went into don’t think just do mode, looking in the same form that took him yesterday to an unofficial lap record.

Behind Dunlop, Harrison solidly kept second, Hickman stayed third, six seconds down on his respected rival.

With scheduled pit stops beckoning, Dunlop’s lead by Ramsey Hairpin, grew to in excess of eleven seconds.

Whilst a new outright class lap record, wasn’t quite attained, 112 times Irish road race winner Dunlop had boosted his grip on race proceedings, enjoying a 13.445 lead over Bradford’s Harrison.

There was disappointment in the pits for next gen talent Jim Hind, WH Racing’s Julian Trummer who were handed thirty second pit-lane speeding penalties.

Lap 3:

Believe it or not Ducks encountered Milltown! One of the stranger aspects of this captivating Supersport encounter.

Harrison nibbled a touch into Dunlop’s race lead at Glen Helen but across Ballaugh Bridge, Ramsey Hairpin, Bungalow timing sectors had lost more time to the Ballymoney racer.

17.528 seconds was Dunlop’s advantage as lap three finalised.

Harrison second, started to come under pressure from nine times TT winner Hickman.

Coward, King of The Roads Champion Todd, 2013 Lightweight class victor Hillier rounded out the top six behind Harrison, Hickman, now covered by a shade under four seconds.

Seventh to tenth place holders were Paul Jordan, David Johnson, Rob Hodson and Bathams Racing’s Craig Neve.

Lap 4:

16.4 seconds clear at Ballaugh Bridge, Dunlop was doing everything he had to do, as he homed in on a tenth Supersport TT success.

Whilst Dunlop looked safe for TT win no.22, the race for second heated up with Hickman closing to within 1.122 seconds of Harrison.

Notorious for his prowess over the mountain, Hickman took almost a second out of Harrison as final race chapters entered the horizon.

Dunlop stylishly wrapped up TT triumph no.22 but who would finish second?

Answer Hickman, topping Harrison by only 0.394 of a second, after recording the second quickest lap of the race (129.039).

Twice TT Privateers Champion Coward took fourth, Todd was fifth, Hillier occupied sixth.

Jordan, Johnson, Hodson, Hind concluded the top 10 leader board.

Newcomers Ryan Cringle, Jorge Halliday, Jack Petrie placed 22nd, 37th, 39th respectively whilst others securing more than creditable results included Michal Dokoupil (14th), Joey Thompson (16th), Barry Furber (17th), Jonathan Goetschy (21st) and Stephen ‘Trevor’ Parsons (27th).

TT 2023 – Monster Energy Supersport Race 1 Result:

1st – Michael Dunlop

2nd – Peter Hickman

3rd – Dean Harrison

4th – Jamie Coward

5th – Davey Todd

6th – James Hillier

7th – Paul Jordan

8th – David Johnson

9th – Rob Hodson

10th – Jim Hind

11th – Craig Neve

12th – Michael Evans

13th – Shaun Anderson

14th – Michal Dokoupil

15th – Brian McCormack

16th – Joey Thompson

17th – Barry Furber

18th – Pierre Yves Bian

19th – Stefano Bonetti

20th – Richard Wilson

21st – Jonathan Goetschy

22nd – Ryan Cringle

23rd – James Chawke

24th – Tom Weeden

25th – Julian Trummer

26th – Michael Russell

27th – Stephen Parsons

28th – Jonathan Perry

29th – Mark Parrett

30th – Forest Dunn

31st – AJ Venter

32nd – Amalric Blanc

33rd – Mark Goodings

34th – Martin Morris

35th – Xavier Denis

36th – Paul ‘Potchy’ Williams

37th – Jorge Halliday

38th – Paul Cassidy

39th – Jack Petrie

40th – David Brook

41st – Masayuki Yamanaka

Photo credit: Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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