Michael Dunlop gave Tyco BMW an emotional victory in today’s RST Superbike race, the opening race of the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy, with the Ulsterman taking over the lead on lap four after long time leader Dean Harrison retired at Sulby Crossroads.

The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider shattered the outright lap record from a standing start with a lap of 134.432mph to open up an 18 second lead but as he hit problems, Dunlop took his 16th TT win by 50.8s from Conor Cummins (Padgetts Honda) with James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) taking third.

At Glen Helen on the opening lap, Harrison had already opened up a 3.7s lead over Dunlop with Peter Hickman a further 1.9s behind in third. Hillier, Cummins and Gary Johnson completed the top six. But Harrison was really pressing on, extending his advantage to 5.6s at Ballaugh and adding another 2.2s by the time he reached Ramsey.

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With a sensational opening lap of 134.432mph – a new outright lap record and from a standing start to boot – Harrison held an 11.3s lead over Dunlop with Cummins moving up to third as Hickman dropped back. Indeed, the Smiths Racing BMW pulled in to the pits to retire which meant Hillier, David Johnson and Gary Johnson now filled the top six positions.

By Glen Helen second time around, Harrison was 14.7s clear of Dunlop who in turn was 10.7s ahead of Cummins. Fourth to sixth remained the same as Michael Rutter, Josh Brookes, Jamie Coward and Lee Johnston rounded out the top ten.

With the fastest ever times in all six sectors now under his belt, having not held one before the race, Harrison led by 17s at Ramsey and as he came in at the end of the lap for his first pit stop, he stopped the clocks at 134.180mph. His lead was a healthy 16.3s over Dunlop, who lapped at 133.513mph. Cummins was still in third after setting a new personal best lap of 132.589mph as Hillier, David Johnson and Gary Johnson maintained the fourth, fifth and sixth places.

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