TT 2017: Dunlop equals Hailwood after dominant Supersport win
Michael Dunlop made up for the disappointment of his retirement from Sunday's Superbike TT by winning the opening Monster Energy Supersport race in dominant style.
The Northern Ireland rider has now moved level with Mike Hailwood on 14 victories around the Mountain Course.
The race was put back from a scheduled 10.45am start time to 1pm to allow extra time for the roads to dry following heavy rain overnight.
Dunlop had to overhaul early pacesetter James Hillier but once he pushed his nose in front, the Ballymoney man began to apply the pressure on his Carl Cox Motorsport-sponsored Yamaha.
Dunlop was two seconds ahead at Glen Helen on lap two and extended his advantage to three seconds at Ramsey over Hillier, with William Dunlop holding third on his IC Racing/Caffrey Yamaha.
However, Dunlop’s pit stop was much slower than Hillier’s at the end of lap two and the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider had moved into the lead by five seconds as they exited pit lane.
Dunlop, though, had the bit between his teeth and by the time they reached Glen Helen on lap three, the 28-year-old was ahead by two seconds.
William Dunlop was beginning to come under threat from Peter Hickman on the Trooper Beer Triumph for the final podium spot, with the English rider five seconds behind at Glen Helen.
At the front, Dunlop could smell victory and he was now beginning to put clear daylight between himself and Hillier, with the gap now up to six seconds at Ramsey hairpin.
Hickman was now only half-a-second behind William Dunlop, with Ian Hutchinson – who won four Supersport TT races on the bounce from 2015 to 2016 – in fifth place on the McAMS Yamaha.
Dunlop was now in full control of the race on his R6 and had 11 seconds in hand over Hillier at Ballaugh.
He maintained his advantage over the Mountain and gained another few seconds with a final lap of 126.543mph to win his sixth race in the class by 13.2 seconds from Hillier.
Hickman snatched the final podium place, a further 12.7 seconds behind, with William Dunlop finishing fourth. Hickman set the fastest lap of the race on his final lap at 126.848mph.
Hutchinson held on to fifth place ahead of Gary Johnson, who rounded out the top six on his Triumph.
Kiwi Bruce Anstey was eighth on the Padgett’s Honda followed by Manx rider Dan Kneen in ninth, who received a 60 second penalty for speeding in pit lane.
Conor Cummins (Padgett’s Honda) and James Cowton on the McAdoo Kawasaki were the top 10.
Tobermore’s Adam McLean was 18th on his TT debut on the MSS Kawasaki.
Dean Harrison, who was lying in third place at the end of lap one on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki, retired on lap two at Ballacraine.