ISLE OF MAN – The Monster Energy Supersport 600cc races received more entries than any other class for the Isle of Man TT Races fueled by Monster Energy this year.
The two four-lap races will see minor changes from the 1000cc bikes in the order among the 20 seeded riders.
The man to beat will undoubtedly be Ian Hutchinson, who has won the last four 600cc TT races with double victories in both 2015 and 2016. He will again be riding for Keith Flint’s Team Traction Control Yamaha team and, with seven wins in the class already, he will start the races as the clear favorite. As in the 1000cc races, he will have the No. 4 plate.
The rider with the honor of starting at No. 1 this year is Lee Johnston. The Ulsterman will be leading the field away for the first time in his TT career. Riding the Jackson Racing Honda, Johnston is still seeking his first podium in the class.
Bruce Anstey (Padgetts Honda) and James Hillier (JG Speedfit Kawasaki), the next two riders on the grid, will have the same starting position as the three 1000cc races. Anstey won the race for the Batley-based team in 2011 and 2012 and finishing second during six successive races between 2013 and 2015. Hillier enjoyed strong runs in the two races in 2016, finishing second and fourth.
John McGuinness (Jackson Racing Honda), Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Yamaha) and Conor Cummins (Padgetts Honda) will leave at numbers five, six and seven, respectively. Although Dunlop hasn’t won a 600cc race since 2014, he still holds the lap record of 128.666 mph (17:35.659), which he set in 2013. He will be keen to get back to winning ways after the controversy of last year that saw the Northern Ireland rider disqualified from the opening race.
Gary Johnson moves back into the top 10 for the Supersport races with the Lincolnshire rider taking the No. 8 plate. He continues with Triumph machinery, this time riding the bikes campaigned in 2016 by Johnston.
Dean Harrison will start at No. 9 on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki and, with two podiums in last year’s races, he will be firmly gunning for his second TT win. Peter Hickman, the second Triumph rider in the top 10, will leave 10 seconds behind Harrison.
Michael Rutter, who posted his best 600cc lap at more than 125 mph in 2015, retains the No. 11 slot. He will be riding a Yamaha for former racer Stephen Thompson. David Johnson starts 10 seconds behind Rutter, although the Norton Racing rider has yet to confirm his ride for the middleweight division.
Jamie Coward will take the No. 13, usually run by Johnston, with the Radcliffe Racing rider becoming a seeded rider for the first time. Three historically fast riders follow Coward although two of them – Dan Kneen (14) and Josh Brookes (16) are still searching for competitive mounts. Another potential winner, William Dunlop, riding the Caffrey International Yamaha, bisects the pair.
Steve Mercer and Martin Jessopp will start at Nos. 17 and 18 on the Devitt RC Express Racing Kawasaki and Riders Motorcycles Triumph, respectively, with further changes from the 1000’s start list at 19 and 20. James Cowton will start from No. 19 on the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki with Dan Cooper setting off at No. 20. Dan Hegarty and Ivan Lintin, both seeded riders in the 1000cc classes, drop out of the top-20 for the Monster Energy Supersport Races.