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Lewis Duncan

Adapting to Dunlop tyres “biggest struggle” for Harrison at TT 2022

DAO Racing Kawasaki rider Harrison trailed home winner Peter Hickman by 39.1 seconds in Saturday’s six-lap Superbike race, the TT’s first contest since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Three-time TT winner Harrison has switched from Metzeler tyres to Dunlop for 2022, which the likes of Hickman and third-placed Michael Dunlop have been using for some time.

Harrison admits this has been the hardest thing for him to get used to on a “hard” week on the Isle of Man.

“They were fine, to be fair,” Harrison said of the Dunlop tyre.

“I’m old now, I’m a miserable old bastard, so when you use one tyre for so long and you switch [manufacturer] it’s such a transition for me.

“Whereas these lads are Dunlop through and through, it’s all they ever use.

“I’m so used to using the Pirelli [which Metzeler is a subsidiary of], it’s almost a bit difficult.

“It took so much adaption this week, it’s been a massive struggle – it’s been the biggest struggle for me this week, I’m not going to lie. The bike behaves totally differently, it’s just hard.”

Dean Harrison, DAO Racing Kawasaki (Photo by: Dave Kneen)

He added: “It’s been hard all week to be honest, there’s been no rest all week.

“It’s been like a constant seven-day riding. There’s been no rest in between.

“It’s been a tough week physically, mentally it’s been hard.

“So, to start the week like that is not too bad. Everyone’s been reasonably quick, so make some changes and go from there.

“The bike never missed a beat, to be fair. The lads have built a mint bike.

“We just need to go a bit faster everywhere, there’s no one place – just look at the sector times, and just look at how big a sector is.

“It’s maybe a couple of seconds off in a sector and it’s eight miles. We’ll be alright.”

While Harrison was cast adrift of Hickman in the lead, he was at one stage of the six-lap race being hunted down by Dunlop on the Hawk Racing Suzuki.

Dunlop found himself behind Hickman and was able to get dragged along, reducing his deficit to Harrison in second to under nine seconds before the latter responded.

“I had to bang a decent lap in on me last lap because I knew he was catching me,” Harrison explained.

“I was like ‘fuck, I’ve got to try again’. The tank was almost empty, and I had to keep pushing.

“[The gap was] eight seconds, then I got P2 plus 14 [on my pit board] and I thought ‘that’ll do’.

“I got that plus 14 at Sulby Bridge, so I kept pushing from Ginger Hall through to Ramsey.

“Once I got that [gap] at Bungalow I though he ain’t making 14s on me, I don’t care who you are.

“So, I almost took a back seat a little bit. Peter caught Michael up, and it drags him on then, and then that makes my life hard because he’s using him as a carrot. To follow somebody it’s easier.”

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