When the 2015 Isle of Man TT officially began on Saturday, wind and rain prevented much of the action. This theme continued through Monday and Tuesday practices, meaning not one timed qualifying session was recording for the 104th edition of the Isle of Man TT.But this changed Wednesday when the tiny island in the Irish Sea was under a dome of blue sky and sun. Sadly, the day was marred by tragedy when French rider Franck Petricola crashed and died due to injury. He was the 243rd rider to perish on the Mountain Course.
The Superbikes were first off, most riders getting in two timed sessions around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course. Leading the way Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda’s Bruce Anstey, who set the outright lap record of 132.298mph last year during the Dainese TT.Anstey piloted his CBR1000RR to a lap with an average speed of 128.641 mph; he was followed by 21-time TT winner Honda Racing’s John McGuinness (128.596mph), and PBM Kawasaki’s Ian Hutchinson (128.300mph), who was the final rider to post over 127mph.Tyco BMW’s Guy Martin was the first out to complete a lap, posting a 127.277. But he would get quicker, and finish the day fourth fastest (127.453mph).As for 11-time TT winner Michael Dunlop, the Yamaha Milwaukee pilot posted a 124.519mph, finishing 13th. He performed two laps and then switched to his MD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 Supersport machine.As for last year’s Junior Manx Grand Prix winner, Shirlaw Kawasaki’s Andy Lawson was also going well with a 122mph+ lap.The IOM TT reports that the majority of the riders switched machines for their third laps and Anstey went to the top of the Supersport leaderboard with a lap of 123.388mph aboard his Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda CBR600RR, ahead of RC Express Racing Kawasaki’s Ivan Lintin (121.39) and Silicone Engineering Triumph’s Russ Mountford (121.15).Hutchinson continued on his Superbike though and recorded another 127mph+ lap but Michael Dunlop’s second lap was only 124.519mph and he then encountered trouble with his Superstock mount, stopping at Greeba Castle.The Northern Irishman did get back out on his 600cc Yamaha as did many of the other riders and Anstey went quicker at 125.218 with Martin (Smiths Triumph 675R) and Gary Johnson (TBC Yamaha) slotting into second and third at 123.082 and 121.678 respectively. Indeed, many got five laps in as they took full advantage of the good conditions.The F2 sidecars also got out, led by LCR Barnes Racing’s John Holden/Dan Sayle (112.781mph), who were followed by DMR Suzuki’s Dave Molyneux/Ben Binns (110.441mph) and LCR Manx Gas Racing’s Ben and Tom Birchall (110.186mph).The riders will return to the Isle of Man TT course Thursday evening for another round of qualifying.Photos by Wayne Freestone
2015 Isle of Man TT Wednesday Qualifying Photo Gallery
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.