News 3 Jun 2010

RR: Donald strong in opening Isle of Man practice sessions

Aussie Cameron Donald is fifth quickest so far at this year's IoM TT.

Aussie Cameron Donald is fifth quickest so far at this year's IoM TT.

Practice got underway at the Isle of Man TT this week, where Australian Cameron Donald rode his Relentless Suzuki to the fifth fastest time in both the Superbike and Superstock categories respectively overnight.

The 32-year-old Victorian is making a welcome return to the Isle of Man after missing out on last year’s race action due to a practice week crash, injuring his shoulder.

The Melbourne native had the consolation of setting the first-ever 131mph lap around the TT Circuit just 12 months ago, and is already right on the pace in the Blue Riband Superbike class this year after lapping as second quickest in Monday and Tuesday’s practice sessions.

“It’s always good to get back to the Isle of Man and more importantly to get those early laps done to re re-familiarise yourself with the circuit,” Donald commented. “We are heading the right way on the GSX-R1000 Superbike and I’m feeling fit, confident and happy to be back. I hope this weather holds and we can get all our bikes well prepared.”

Riders were warned of a few damp patches at Quarry Bends and Governor’s Bridge but with close to ideal conditions, it was almost inevitable that the 130mph would be broken and so it was but, surprisingly, only by John McGuinness on his second lap.

It was William Dunlop and Bruce Anstey who got the session underway promptly at 6.20pm, the Northern Irishman on his 600cc machine and the Kiwi on his Superbike. Following them were John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop, Ian Lougher and Cameron Donald, Keith Amor and Daniel Kneen and Adrian Archibald and Carl Rennie, all Superbike mounted with the exception of Kneen who was out on his 600.

McGuinness was the first to complete a lap at 129.265mph with Anstey and Donald not too far behind at 127.915mph and 128.011mph respectively. Michael Dunlop, Lougher, Amor and Archibald were all above 126mph but Guy Martin was close to McGuinness’ pace at 129.145mph, Ian Hutchinson also going well at 128.018mph.

Second time around and McGuinness really showed his class with a lap of 130.242mph, Hutchinson increasing his speed to 128.735mph and Archibald to 128.618mph. Martin had called in to the pits at the end of his first lap but got no further than Quarter Bridge on his second before pulling off, eventually going back out on his Superstock bike. Davy Morgan was also in trouble retiring at Sulby Bridge.

McGuinness and Hutchinson both swapped to their 600cc Supersport bikes, the latter going second quickest on the night with a lap just over 125mph. It was that man Michael Dunlop who was quickest here and he was marginally faster than Hutchinson at 125.087mph. Meanwhile, Amor posted an impressive time on his BMW Superstock bike at 127.525mph.

Most of the riders were able to get back out for a fifth lap and Hutchinson went back out on his Superbike recording a lap of 129.164mph to go second quickest on the night. Amor was close to 128mph on the HM Plant Honda but Ryan Farquhar was flying on his Superstock Kawasaki and a lap of 128.076mph saw him go quickest, that speed also the Northern Irishman’s fastest ever lap of the Mountain Course, albeit unofficially.

Conor Cummins posted a late lap of 127.010mph with Gary Johnson also having a better run after problems earlier in the week, the AIM Racing rider lapping at 126.488mph, just quicker than Dan Stewart, who also recorded his fastest ever lap.

Click here for detailed results