‘MY TEAM UN­DER­STAND ME, IT JUST WORKS’

Hutchy is de­ter­mined to win big bike TTS and has made some key changes for 2017

Motorcycle News (UK) - - TT 2017 PREVIEW - By Stephen Dav­i­son ROADS REPORTER

The fi­nal prac­tice ses­sion at last year’s TT set the scene for the week of un­prece­dented high speed rac­ing that fol­lowed. Dur­ing that beau­ti­ful sum­mer’s evening, Ian Hutchin­son and Michael Dunlop blazed around the Moun­tain course on their Tyco and Hawk BMWS, throw­ing down the gaunt­let to one an­other and ig­nit­ing their fierce ri­valry that was to de­fine TT 2016.

“The times were ridicu­lous last year,” Hutchy re­flects.

“Be­fore, you’d spend all week try­ing and then by Fri­day you’d do a 130mph lap and be in a good po­si­tion. But last year, 130s came in no time, then 131s and then all of a sud­den 132s. I did 132.8 on the stocker, then a 133mph lap from a stand­ing start.”

No-one talks about last year’s TT with­out men­tion­ing the Dunlop-hutchy ri­valry that saw the record books rewrit­ten, but come race day the bat­tles were never quite as close as they had been on that fi­nal Fri­day evening of prac­tice.

The York­shire­man won the Su­per­stock race on the Tyco BMW by 28 sec­onds from Dean Har­ri­son after Dunlop re­tired. Mounted on his Team Trac­tion Con­trol Yamaha, Hutchy blitzed both Su­per­sport events to equal Mike Hail­wood’s tally of 14 TT wins.

In the big bike events the story was re­versed as Hutchy was forced to watch Dunlop can­ter to a 19-sec­ond lead in the Su­per­bike race and win the Se­nior by a yawn­ing 31-sec­ond margin.

In the week be­tween those two races, re­la­tions be­tween the duo broke down com­pletely in the wake of the ‘Pis­ton­gate’ scan­dal that blew up around the le­gal­ity of the com­po­nents in Hutchy’s Su­per­sport race-win­ning en­gine.

Hutchy hopes his switch from Met­zeler to Dunlop tyres will help him win the Su­per­bike and Se­nior races this time round.

“Both teams, Tyco BMW and MCAMS Yamaha, un­der­stand what I want. It just works,” says the 37-year-old.

“I’ve gone back to what I started my TT ca­reer with. I did many years with Dunlop tyres. I’ve been on the Met­zel­ers and I’ve given it all I’ve got and I need to change some­thing. I don’t want to change teams, I didn’t want to change the bike, I was happy with every­thing so the only thing I can go back to is the Dunlop tyres to see what we can do about the su­per­bike.”

Although Pirelli/met­zeler have won dozens of TT races over the past decade, no-one has won a su­per­bike TT race on the Ital­ian com­pany’s rub­ber since Cameron Don­ald’s Su­per­bike vic­tory on the Re­lent­less Suzuki in 2008.

Hutchy adds: “I’ve been on the podium in ev­ery race for the past two years and not won the big bike races so if I don’t change some­thing all I can see is a re­peat of the year be­fore.”

The Bin­g­ley man will not have been en­cour­aged by his North West 200 ex­pe­ri­ence though. With his Tyco BMW team-mate Alas­tair See­ley us­ing Met­zeler tyres on his su­per­stock and su­per­bike spec S1000RRS there was a unique op­por­tu­nity to com­pare each man’s race kit and See­ley got the bet­ter of Hutchy in ev­ery en­counter. See­ley will not be at the TT though and the North West’s 8.9-mile lap does not present the same chal­lenge as the 37.73-mile Moun­tain course. There will also be changes to the Tyco BMW which Hutchy found so dif­fi­cult to ride in full su­per­bike spec last year. He strug­gled so much that he ac­tu­ally used the stocker en­gine in the Se­nior race.

“I re­ally strug­gled with the throt­tle con­nec­tion and the way the power de­liv­ery was with the en­gine last year,” he ex­plained.

“As far as try­ing to win the race goes, it wasn’t the best idea to put the su­per­stock en­gine in for the Se­nior race but I wanted to be safe and I wasn’t very safe on the other bike. That be­ing said, we fin­ished sec­ond and were five sec­onds off the lap record on the stock en­gine. The team went away and did some work and the bike was lovely to race at the Ul­ster where I won.”

That Ul­ster GP out­ing was the last head-to­head Hutchy had with his main TT ri­vals this year and he beat all of them con­vinc­ingly. In the closely fought fea­ture su­per­bike race, the English­man headed home Bruce An­stey on the RC213V-S Honda and Dunlop’s Hawk BMW to make it four wins over the week.

The whole dy­namic of this year’s TT has now changed fol­low­ing Michael Dunlop’s move to Suzuki and the ab­sence of John Mcguin­ness but there can’t be much doubt Hutchy still sees Dunlop as his main ri­val for su­per­bike TT glory.

“At the end of the day if I come this year and fin­ish fifth, there’ll be no ri­valry and no­body will be in­ter­ested in what I’ve done in the past. If I’m first or sec­ond and some­one else is first or sec­ond there is go­ing to be a ri­valry. If you are here to fight for wins then there’s al­ways a ri­valry there. It went a bit too far last year with some of the stuff that hap­pened.”

‘IF YOU FIGHT FOR WINS THERE IS GO­ING TO BE RI­VALRY. BUT IT DID GO A BIT TOO FAR LAST YEAR’

Hutchy and Mcguin­ness share a healthy re­spect for each other Hutchy (4) lost out to team­mate See­ley at the North West

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