P82 Hick­man climbs the ranks ahead of Dun­lop as TT start­ing or­der gets ma­jor re-shuf­fle

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son MCN ROAD RAC­ING RE­PORTER

MCN has been given exclusive ac­cess to one of the most ea­gerly awaited announcements of the road rac­ing year: the 2016 TT start num­bers.

The big shock in this year’s list­ings is Peter Hick­man’s rise up the ranks from a start­ing po­si­tion of 17 in last year’s Su­per­bike TT to the No5 slot in June. That will see the JG Speed­fit Kawasaki rider head down Bray Hill just 10 sec­onds be­hind Ian Hutchin­son on the Tyco BMW and the same dis­tance in front of BMW’S Michael Dun­lop.

With only split sec­onds now sep­a­rat­ing the lead­ing riders in ev­ery race, the start po­si­tion in the TT time trial has more sig­nif­i­cance than ever be­fore.

Hick­man’s fastest lap of 131.626mph in last year’s Se­nior TT, set on a su­per­stock spec Lee Hardy Rac­ing/briggs BMW S1000RR, is just 0.07s slower than Hutchy’s fastest TT lap but al­most 1mph shy of Dun­lop’s. The TT’S fastest ever new­comer posted what was the eighth fastest Moun­tain course lap of all-time dur­ing last year’s Se­nior race in only his sec­ond ap­pear­ance.

“I had asked to be moved up the or­der and I am happy,” the 28-year-old said.

“There will be some re­ally ex­pe­ri­enced riders in front and be­hind me so if I get caught then I can fol­low and learn. But if no-one does come past then I will know I am on it!”

Guy Martin’s an­nounce­ment that he would be giv­ing this year’s event a miss to com­pete in a bi­cy­cle race pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity for a shake-up of the top 10 start or­der. Hick­man’s el­e­va­tion to Num­ber 5 has had a knock-on ef­fect that may prove even more sig­nif­i­cant.

No5 has been the reg­u­lar start­ing slot of last year’s Su­per­bike TT win­ner Bruce An­stey on the Valvo­line Pad­getts Honda but the veteran Kiwi will now move up to sec­ond which may raise eye­brows in 23-times TT win­ner John Mcguin­ness’ camp. He will be the first man down Bray Hill for the third year in a row, but his old­est ad­ver­sary will be set­ting off just 10 sec­onds be­hind him.

The 46-year-old Kiwi has of­ten strug­gled to get out of the blocks fast enough in the open­ing laps of the big bike races but the slight­est sniff of Mcguin­ness’ fuel vapour could pro­vide all the in­cen­tive he needs to chase down the More­cambe rider.

An­other of the Moun­tain course’s 132-mph men, James Hil­lier, drops from two to three on the Qu­at­tro Plant Kawasaki and Hutchy’s el­e­va­tion to No4 is a climb of five places af­ter his tre­ble win in last year’s Su­per­stock and Su­pers­port races.

Michael Dun­lop qui­etly re­tains No6 as for­mer BSB front-run­ner, Michael Rut­ter, re­turns to the top 10 starters at nine fol­low­ing his 131mph per­for­mance in last year’s Se­nior TT on the BMW. Rut­ter will start 20 sec­onds be­hind his re­place­ment in the Ger­man team, Gary John­son, who goes at seven with Wil­liam Dun­lop on the CD/IC Rac­ing Yamaha at eight.

Conor Cum­mins re­tains his tra­di­tional No10 plate with the fi­nal eye opener be­ing Cameron Don­ald’s ap­pear­ance at 11. Don­ald has de­fected from the Nor­ton camp to re­turn to the Wil­son Craig Hon­das that he last rode to a run­ner-up spot in the 2013 Su­per­bike TT. The Aus­tralian’s start­ing po­si­tion sees him ahead of Dean Har­ri­son ( Sil­i­cone En­gi­neer­ing Kawasaki), 2015 North West and Ulster Grand Prix win­ner, Lee John­ston at 13 on the Ecc/bur­dens BMW). The TT’S fastest ever Aussie, David John­son, has re­placed his coun­try­man Don­ald in the Nor­ton squad and will start at 15 be­hind Mar-train Yamaha’s Dan Kneen.

Tyco BMW’S lat­est re­cruit, three­time TT win­ner Ryan Far­quhar, will start at 16.

‘If no-one comes past me then I will know I am on it!

Hick­man is join­ing the TT elite with his No5 start Fastest-ever new­comer Hick­man has im­pressed TT or­gan­is­ers

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