That the 2023 edition of the Tourist Trophy was also that of Michael Dunlop's return to the top was clear from the first free practice. But what the nephew of the legendary Joey did today is truly impressive. During today's mixed SBK / Superstock free practice session, Michael in fact shattered the previous record which has belonged to Peter Hickman since 2018, lapping at an average speed of 218.116 km/h.
It’s a record which, however, cannot be written in the official records, as it was obtained during practice and not in one of the races, but in any case it does not lose any of its worth for this. Hickman has held the record since 2018 and given the circumstances it is plausible that more than one rider could beat it in the race very soon during the 2023 edition of the world’s fastest and most fascinating Road Race.
Hickman himself responded brilliantly, lapping at an average speed of 217.11 km/h, a benchmark that places him behind Dunlop and ahead of Dean Harrison, another favourite for the win in more than one category of this edition of the TT. The veteran John McGuinness didn't do badly either, taking 5th time overall with the Team Legends Honda, confirming that he hasn't lost the sheen of his best days at all and that he can still be, at over 50 years of age, a potential podium finisher on the Isle of Man.
Michael Dunlop didn't stop there and even astride the Yamaha R6 in SuperSport he was the fastest of all, making himself candidate for the win in another category among those that he seems destined to dominate in this edition of the TT.