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Lewis Duncan

Isle of Man TT 2023: Dunlop equals McGuinness’ win record with Superbike race victory

The Ulsterman opened up his TT account for 2023 with an emphatic victory in the Supersport class on Saturday to notch up his 22nd career win.

Leading every single sector of the six-lap Superbike race on Sunday, Dunlop has moved into joint second on the all-time winners list alongside TT legend John McGuinness with his second victory of the event.

Dunlop took the lead through the first sector split at Glen Helen on the first lap and never looked like being challenged as he swelled his advantage to over 20 seconds at one stage to ease to victory.

He is now just three away from matching the all-time wins record set by his late uncle Joey Dunlop in 2000.

Setting off at number six on the road, Dunlop led the field by 0.145 seconds on his Hawk Racing Honda as Dean Harrison slotted into second on his DAO Racing Kawasaki.

Dunlop’s lead stretched to 3.1s through the Ballaugh sector split and stood at 6.2s as he concluded the lap with a new race record of 134.519mph from a standing start.

Intermittent quickshift issues for Peter Hickman on his FHO BMW meant he had to battle Padgetts Honda’s Davey Todd for third.

Peter Hickman, Superbike (Photo by: ttracesofficial/Pacemaker Press)

Hickman was able to overhaul Todd at the end of the first lap by 0.4s, before opening up that gap to 5.4s through Glen Helen on lap two.

Dunlop managed an even faster lap on the second tour of 135.046mph to get close to the outright lap record of 135.452mph set by Hickman in 2018 as his advantage at the front into his first pitstop stood at 14.6s.

On lap three, Dunlop led by 18.8s at the end of it, while the gap for third narrowed between Harrison and Hickman.

After his second and final stop on lap five, Dunlop started to ease off as his lead went from 19.4s at the start of the tour to just over 10s halfway through the last lap.

Meanwhile, a pitstop five seconds quicker than Harrison’s allowed Hickman to get to within 2.8s of the DAO Racing rider as they started the last lap.

Traffic for Harrison on the final lap into Ballaugh allowed Hickman to take second by 0.8s, with the FHO rider upping his pace significantly to threaten his own outright lap record.

Dunlop got to the chequered flag 8.233s clear for an emotional 23rd victory, while Hickman pulled 9.8s on Harrison to take second – setting a new Superbike race lap record of 135.445mph, narrowly missing his outright record.

A technical issue forced Todd out at the end of lap three, allowing James Hillier on the OMG Racing Yamaha to take fourth ahead of KTS Racing’s Jamie Coward.

John McGuinness, who scored his 23rd TT win back in 2015, completed the top six for Honda on the day Dunlop joined him as the second-most successful rider on the Isle of Man in history.

Picture credit @ttracesofficial/Pacemaker Press

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