ISLE OF MAN – Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop have dominated the two Monster Energy Supersport 600cc races at the Isle of Man TT and they’ll look to continue that dominatino this year.
As with the 1000cc classes, the duo will start at number four and six, respectively, with Hutchinson on board the Honda Racing machine and Dunlop on a similar CBR600RR that he will run in his own MD Racing livery.
Manxman Conor Cummins will have the No. 1 plate on the Padgetts Honda and will be joined by teammate Lee Johnston, who moves up the order from 13 to three. The Padgetts Racing pair are separated by James Hillier, who again lines up at number two on the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki.
Dean Harrison slots in at number five, positioned between Hutchinson and Dunlop on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. Gary Johnson, the only rider other than Hutchinson and Dunlop to win a Supersport race since 2013, again sets off at number seven – this time on the RAF Regular & Reserve Triumph.
Dan Kneen who will ride for the Jackson Racing Honda squad from the number eight position, is another rider expected to be challenging for a podium while William Dunlop moves up the order for the 600cc races, taking over the number nine plate on his Temple Golf Club Yamaha.
Peter Hickman, a double podium finisher last year on the Trooper Beer Triumph, rides the same machine again this time around and again sets off at number ten. Josh Brookes starts ten seconds behind Hickman, this time on the McAMS Yamaha. He’ll be followed by Martin Jessopp on the Riders Motorcycles Triumph.
With Johnston moving up the order there’s a space at 13. Next at 14 will be Michael Rutter followed by David Johnson, the duo dropping out of the top ten for the 600cc races compared to their higher starting positions in the three 1000cc races.
Jamie Coward again starts at 16, this time on the PRez Racing Yamaha, and while Steve Mercer will again start from 17th, he has two new riders behind him with Ivan Lintin at 18 moving into the seeds on his Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki and James Cowton at 19 doing likewise on his McAdoo Racing ZX-6R Kawasaki.
The field is packed with talented riders and amongst those outside the top-20 are Craig Neve (23), former Manx GP winner Andrew Dudgeon (26), Sam West (29), Daniel Cooper (37) and the Irish triumvirate of Derek McGee (27), Michael Sweeney (28) and Adam McLean (34).
A number of the leading Manx GP competitors also move up including Michael Evans (35), Glenn Harrison (39), Darren Cooper (40) and Jamie Williams (41) while overseas competitors with strong pedigrees include the Czech Republic’s Michal Dokoupil (25) and Kamil Holan (33), Spain’s Antonio Maeso (49) and Julian Toniutti (50) from France.
Last year’s newcomers Joey Thompson (51) and Paul Jordan (58) return with former Pirelli National Superstock 600cc front runners Davey Todd and Adam Lyon making their debuts this time around.