2014 Dainese Superbike TT Results
Last year, Michael Dunlop proved himself at the Isle of Man TT, winning four of five solo races aboard Honda CBR machinery.
But though obviously comfortable on the CBRs, contract negotiations didn’t work out, and the 25-year-old Northern Ireland rider signed with BMW Motorrad. Dunlop immediately showed strength aboard the Hawk Racing BMW S1000RR, and went won two North West 200 races.
The North West 200 races are considered as the ultimate practice for the ultimate race - the Isle of Man TT. After posting the quickest qualifying lap on Friday - a 131.501 mph around the 37.73 Snaefell Mountain Course - Dunlop continued this momentum into the first TT of 2014.
And Michael Dunlop did it in record-breaking style; he won Saturday’s 6-lap Dainese Superbike TT, which was eight TT victory. On his first lap, he posted an average speed of 131.73 mph, breaking the previous lap record of 131.671 mph set by John McGuinness in 2009 (Honda CBR1000RR, Senior TT).
He only got quicker, posting a a lap of 131.89 on the second lap. But as for the outright lap record, Dunlop didn’t get it; fourth-place finisher Bruce Anstey now holds the circuit record lap with a 132.298, which was posted on the Valvoline Honda pilot’s final lap.
When the 2014 Dainese TT was complete, Dunlop would finish 20.5 seconds ahead of Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin. Taking third was Honda Racing’s Conor Cumins.
"For Hawk Racing it's amazing to be able to say we've won at the Isle of Man TT. I think it's a dream that any team have, it's the biggest event in the entire motorcycle racing calendar. It's fantastic to have a TT win to our name - and to have won it by such a margin, and to have broken the lap record twice on the first two laps, is the icing on the cake," Michael Dunlop says.
"Full credit to Michael for that amazing ride. It was an unbelievable job from the whole team. We've had fantastic support from BMW Motorrad, from Lee Nicholls in the UK and Kurt from BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Now let's see what Friday brings."
Dunlop also scored the win for BMW on the 75th anniversary of Bavarian manufacturer’s Senior TT victory in 1939. That year, Georg “Schorsch” Meier rode a factory Type 255 Kompressor to victory around the legendary island course, becoming both the first rider ever to break a 100mph average lap and the first ever foreign winner of the Isle of Man TT.
Though Dunlop finished the TT in record time, he didn't achieve the outright lap record. Fourth-place finisher Bruce Anstey now holds the outright record lap with a 132.298, which was posted on the Valvoline Honda pilot’s final lap.
When the Dainese TT began, Quattro Kawasaki’s James Hillier was the leader, but on the opening lap Michael Dunlop took control. Close behind was Martin, Dean Harrison (RC Express Racing Kawasaki), Gary Johnson (Lincs Lifting Honda) and Dan Kneen (Cookstown BE Racing Suzuki) close behind.
By the end of the opening lap, Dunlop was 9.4 seconds ahead of Martin. With many riders fast up front, the leaderboard kept changing. Cumins moved into third on the second lap, followed by Hillier, Harrison, and Honda Racing’s John MCGuniness. As for Lincs Honda’s Gary Johnson, he retired at Creg ny Baa.
Things kept changing, and eventually Dunlop and Martin were charging towards the end of the race. Dunlop scored his victory, and Martin took his 14th podium with second. Cummins finished three seconds behind Martin.
Anstey broke the circuit lap record, and finished fourth, just ahead of Bathmans BMW’s Michael Rutter, Tyco Suzuki’s William Dunlop and McGuinness.
Seventh was a great finish for 20-time TT winner McGuinness, considering he was riding with a wrist injury that prevented him from competing in the North West 200. Rounding out the top 10 were Harrison, Hillier and Milwaukee Yamaha’s Joshua Brook.
The IOM TT reports that newcomer Peter Hickman had a brilliant ride into 14th place with his final lap of 126.195mph making him the second fastest newcomer in TT history and it also meant he was the first privateer home with Ivan Lintin (17th) and Russ Mountford (18th) second and third in the early TT Privateer’s Championship.
Debutantes Martin Jessopp and Danny Webb both picked up bronze replicas in 26th and 37th also posting their best laps of the event so far at 123.470 and 120.508 respectively.
As for the Americans on the EBR 1190RS, Brandon Cretu retired on the second lap with clutch issues, and Mark Miller was also forced to retire.
Photos 1-3 by Wayne Freestone