Isle of Man TT: McGuinness up with front runners during first timed qualifying

Steve Mercer on the Steve Mercer Honda and John McGuinness on the Honda Racing Fireblade leave the line for the start of Wednesday's practice at the Isle of Man TT. Picture: Simon Patterson/Pacemaker Press
Steve Mercer on the Steve Mercer Honda and John McGuinness on the Honda Racing Fireblade leave the line for the start of Wednesday's practice at the Isle of Man TT. Picture: Simon Patterson/Pacemaker Press
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John McGuinness got in a full practice session at the Isle of Man TT on Wednesday night.

Having seen the early part of the week disrupted by bad weather riders got time on the Mountain Course ahead of racing getting underway with six-lap Superbike race on Saturday.

Michael Rutter and Dan Kneen were first to leave the line with both, like the majority of the front runners, eager to put in as many laps as possible on their Superbike machines.

Guy Martin, James Hillier, Bruce Anstey, Gary Johnson, Ian Hutchinson, Ivan Lintin, Ryan Farquhar, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald followed in quick succession with Lintin the exception to the norm on his Supersport mount.

Martin was first to complete a lap at 127.277 but Hutchinson was quickest at 127.967. Johnson was the only other rider over 127mph but Anstey, Hillier and McGuinness were all over 126mph with Conor Cummins and Rutter both over 125mph.

The two Dunlops both pitted with Donald switching to his Supersport machine but the majority of riders went straight through and it was Anstey who posted the best lap at 128.641 as he overhauled Hutchinson on the road, the latter lapping at 128mph also.

McGuinness got closest to Anstey’s lap though with a speed of 128.596mph with Rutter and Cummins also impressing with 127mph plus laps.

French rider Franck Petricola lost his life after an accident during the session at the Sulby Crossroads.

Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson said: “Franck showed incredible character to battle back from the serious injuries he suffered at the North West 200 last year when many a lesser man would have given up the challenge but it showed his determination to compete on the mountain course.

“The road racing community has lost a remarkable man and I extend my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.”