Isle Of Man TT Race One
Michael Dunlop rode an inch-perfect race to take an emotional win in the RST Superbike TT race after the tragic loss of Dan Kneen during practice.
With riders continually trading record-breaking laps throughout practice, there was little doubt that Saturday’s opening Superbike race of the 2018 Isle of Man TT would be a thrilling affair.
Fans were not disappointed as action began on the Mountain Course, Dean Harrison and Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) immediately entering into an intense battle for the lead. Meanwhile, Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) made steady progress off the line to put himself into podium contention.
Running across six laps, the RST Superbike race would see a total of two pit stops for all riders. Harrison appeared to break away at the start, but a determined Dunlop was able to always keep the Kawasaki within touching distance. A perfect pit stop from the Tyco BMW team saw Dunlop close the gap as the race entered its midway point.
The running was unfortunately not as smooth for Peter Hickman who was forced to retire after the first lap of the race. This promoted the likes of Dave Johnson (GULF BMW) and Michael Rutter (Bathamas BMW) into the top five.
Dunlop continued to chip away at Harrison’s lead, stealing a second here and there as the BMW S 1000 RR powered around the Snaefell Mountain Course. Lap 4 saw the Tyco BMW man gain almost five seconds in a single lap on the leader.
It was at this stage that Harrison’s retirement from the race was announced, Dunlop now over 40 seconds clear of second place.
The margin was more than enough to secure the BMW S 1000 RR and Michael Dunlop one of their most dominant, and emotional, victories at the TT. After the tragic loss of Dan Kneen earlier in the week, Dunlop devoted his 16th victory at the Isle of Man TT to the Manx rider.
Victory in the opening Superbike race moves Dunlop’s TT victory tally to 16, with six of those wins having come aboard the BMW S 1000 RR in 2014, 2016 and now 2018.
David Johnson was fourth aboard the Gulf BMW machine, followed closely home by Michael Rutter. Once again, the BMW S 1000 RR proved to be the machine to have at the Isle of Man TT as it filled three of the top five spots.
The S 1000 RR will be back out on track for the RL360 Superstock Race on Monday June 4th followed by the PokerStars Senior TT on Friday June 8th.