The impossible made possible
Michael Dunlop wins on new Suzuki after a difficult week
Today we have made the impossible possible,” Michael Dunlop declared after winning the Senior TT on the Bennetts Suzuki. The 28-year-old raced the untried new GSX-R1000RR to victory in a four-lap Senior race that was restarted after Tyco BMW’S Ian Hutchinson crashed out of the initial race on lap two.
The Ballymoney man took the chequered flag 13.3 seconds ahead of Peter Hickman on his Smith’s BMW with Dean Harrison third on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki 10 seconds further back.
“We won the race with a brand new manufacturer and a brand new bike,” Dunlop smiled. “It says a lot about me as a person and as a rider and it says a lot about the team too.”
Dunlop had declared he wanted to “stop the dominance”– referring to BMW’S recent success at the TT. He brought the German manufacturer’s winning streak in the last five big-bike races – two of which he won himself, to a grinding halt with his Suzuki success.
“This is the race everyone wants to win,” he said.“it’s the one they talk about and I have got it – I’ve won it and I’m up to 15 TTS. That’s something special.”
The story could have been very different for Dunlop had Hutchy not dropped his Tyco BMW S1000RR at the 27th milestone in the original race start. The Suzuki rider had been struggling to stay with his arch rival and early leader, Peter Hickman as he battled suspension issues.
“We made some changes to the suspension before the restart but, genuinely, I could have done them in the pits,” he said, dismissing any concerns.
“After my pit stop I could have come out strong. I needed to get in to the pits to get things changed.”
With those alterations made during the interval, Dunlop stormed into the lead of the restart, opening a gap of four seconds on Peter Hickman by the end of lap one with a standing-start speed of 132.292mph.
“I got my head down from the start and said ‘it’s time to break these boys’ and that was the plan from the word go,” Dunlop said.
A second lap of 132.903 mph – the fastest of the week – as he slowed for his pit stop, gave him an unassailable winning margin. Such was Dunlop’s pace on those opening laps that he actually lapped in 16 minutes 58.7 seconds at 133.334mph from Glen Helen to Glen Helen, a stunning speed given the complaints made by many of the opposition concerning the lack of grip on the Mountain course following a week of bad weather.
“That was steady,” Dunlop said with massive understatement when informed of his time.“i did another 133mph, sub-17-minute lap on a brandnew motorbike. I was real gentle with the bike with the down-shift, the gearchanges and the short-shifting so it just goes to show how well the bike was working. There was a lot of spinning up out there today and I don’t think the grip was the same as the year before. So it’s a good lap and the Suzuki has so much more to come from it.”
Dunlop criticised those who had used the conditions as an excuse for being slower at TT 2017. “There was crying after the 600cc race about it being damp and it was said if there had been better conditions other people would have done well,” he said.
“Then the Birchalls broke the lap record on the sidecar. The conditions today were still fantastic, even if they were not as good as they were last year.”
Dunlop paid tribute to the pace of the men who shared the Senior rostrum with him.
“You can’t take it away from Peter Hickman or Dean Harrison though – they are riding hard,” he said.
Extra motivation came after he lost out to Hutchy in the Superbike race when his Suzuki broke down.
“I was gutted after the Superbike race and I think I could have won the race no problem at all, but I had to get up from that,” he said.
‘Dunlop lapped at 133.334mph from Glen Helen to Glen Helen’