Isle of Man TT: Peter Hickman sets Superbike class pace on Thursday

Peter Hickman headed Conor Cummins in the Superbike class in Thursday’s practice for the 2018 Isle of Man TT with his fastest-ever lap of the 37.75-mile circuit.

Thursday’s schedule was altered to copy that of Wednesday’s cancelled running, with the combined Superbike/Superstock/Supersport session getting underway at 1820.

Tuesday Superbike pacesetter Dean Harrison – who became just the second-ever rider to lap under 17 minutes with a 16m57.728s tour at 133.462mph – lit up the timing screens through Glen Helen and Ballaugh on his first lap on Thursday.

However, the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider was reeled in and overhauled by Smiths BMW’s Peter Hickman over the remainder of the lap, who went top with a 131.113mph lap completed in 17m15.962s.

Hickman carried on for a flying lap while Harrison pulled in to switch to his Superstock machine, and went on to better his standing start effort by over 10 seconds with his fastest-ever lap of the TT circuit, completed in 17m02.757s at 132.806mph.

Harrison put his ZX-10R top of the Superstock times on his only lap on the bike with a 17m39.757s time at 128.246mph, though this was beaten by Tuesday Superstock pacesetter Hickman around 25 minutes later with a 17m38.006s tour at 128.387mph.

Hickman remained unchallenged at the top of the Superbike times with his 132.806mph effort.

Manxman Conor Cummins guided his Padgetts Honda to a 17m15.470s lap at 131.175mph late on to go second quickest.

The Tyco BMW was given the blessing of the father of its late rider Kneen on Thursday to continue and Michael Dunlop put his S1000RR third in the Superbike classification ahead of Harrison and David Johnson on his Gulf BMW.

Hickman was set to do the Superbike/Superstock double on Thursday evening, but a final lap of 17m31.283s at 129.202mph from Johnson put the Aussie top of the Superstock pile.

Harrison completed the top three ahead of Dunlop and Honda’s Ian Hutchinson.

In Supersport, Ivan Lintin snatched top spot from Prez Yamaha’s Jamie Coward on his Devitt Racing Kawasaki with a lap of 18m22.304s at 123.222mph. Lee Johnston was third on his Padgetts Honda.

PWM rider Chris Petty had an incident at St Ninians and was taken to Nobles Hospital for further checks, though was reported as sitting up after the crash.

The third Sidecar session of the week was topped by the Birchall EG Honda CBR outfit, with Ben and passenger Tom setting the initial pace from a standing start at 115.480mph in 19m36.205s ahead of Tuesday’s fastest pair John Holden and Lee Cain.

The Birchalls’ second lap was just over 10 seconds quicker than their opening tour at 116.554mph in 19m25.365s – the best Sidecar effort of the week so far.

Holden and Cain just made it through to start the third lap right at the end of the session and improved to a 19m39.666s at 115.141mph on their Silicone Engineering LCR Honda. Tim Reeves and passenger Mark Wilkes completed the top three.

Michael Rutter, who suffered an engine failure in Superbike practice, was fastest in the first TT Zero session of the week on the Mugen, with the veteran Englishman setting the pace at 116.049mph in 19m30.435s.

Lee Johnston was third on his first outing on the Mugen, while Daley Mathison split the pair on his University of Nottingham machine, albeit some way off of Rutter’s pace at 103.144mph in 21m56.882s.

Isle of Man TT: Peter Hickman sets Superbike class pace on Thursday

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