Superbike start numbers revealed
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
With entries closing for the 2016 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy at the end of February, the fastest ever line-up has been confirmed with the expectation that this year’s riders will surpass the record-breaking speeds at the 2015 TT meeting.
The RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races will again create the most intrigue and headlines. With the top 20 seeded riders all having lapped comfortably over 127mph, it’s the fastest top end field ever assembled.
Honda Racing’s John McGuinness is again the man leading the field away with the number one plate. The 23-time TT race winner has re-established himself as the ‘King of the Mountain’ with last year’s stunning PokerStars Senior TT victory and new outright lap record of 132.701mph (17:03.567).
Arguably the biggest surprise is the rider at number two - Bruce Anstey. With the exception of 2010, when he started at number one, the Kiwi has had the number five plate every year since 2004.
James Hillier, one of last year’s stars, moves back a place to number three on the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki, while there’s also change at four with last year’s triple race winner Ian Hutchinson moving up the order from his 2015 starting position. The Bingley Bullet has switched to the Tyco BMW for 2016 and takes over the number that he had in 2010 when he won five races from five starts.
Ten seconds behind him is another of last year’s revelations and another potential race winner in the shape of Peter Hickman. The eighth fastest rider of all time will line up on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and has the ideal target in front of him in Hutchinson although he could well be occupied with the rider starting behind him – Michael Dunlop.
After a problematical 2015 TT campaign, Dunlop is back at the start number that saw him claim a hat-trick of 1000cc wins in both 2013 and 2014 and he will be hoping that it proves to be a lucky six.
Previous two time Supersport TT Race winner Gary Johnson will again have the number seven plate, this time on the Penz13.com BMW, and will be followed down Glencrutchery Road by William Dunlop (CD Racing Yamaha) and the evergreen Michael Rutter (Bathams/SMT Racing BMW). As in previous years, Manxman Conor Cummins completes the top ten on the second Honda Racing machine.
There’s exciting news at number 11 with Cameron Donald moving back up the grid from last year’s start place of 19. The Australian took second in the Superbike race for three successive years between 2011-2013 and the Adelaide based rider will again look to be back up at the front of the field on his return to Wilson Craig Racing.
Silicone Engineering is a new team among the seeded outfits in the number 12 spot but it’s familiar territory for rider Dean Harrison who starts one position ahead of Lee Johnston on board the East Coast Construction BMW. Dan Kneen on the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha starts ten seconds later with Australian ace David Johnson completing the top 15 on the factory Norton.
Going off at 16 will be Ryan Farquhar, who rides the second Tyco BMW. Dan Stewart (Wilcock Consulting Honda), Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW), Steve Mercer (Jackson Racing Honda) and last year’s Bennetts Lightweight TT winner Ivan Lintin who’s amongst the Superbike seeds for the first time on the Devitt RC Express Racing Kawasaki, complete the top twenty.
There’s no shortage of talent outside the top 20 with the likes of Alan Bonner, Dan Cooper, Sam West, Daniel Hegarty and Ryan Kneen all back for another effort as is the veteran Ian Lougher on the intriguing Suter 580cc two-stroke.
There’s a good contingent of overseas riders with Horst Saiger (Austria), Stefano Bonetti (Italy) Mark Miller (USA), Kamil Holan (Czech Rebublic), Hudson Kennaugh (South Africa) and Herve Gantner (Switzerland) all returning to the TT with further strength in depth coming from riders of the calibre of James Cowton, Jamie Coward, Christopher Dixon, James Ford and last year’s best newcomer, Ireland’s Derek McGee.
The entry has been further boosted by a number of riders graduating from the Manx Grand Prix including last year’s Senior, Junior and Lightweight race winners Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, Billy Redmayne and Rob Hodson. Others to make the step up include David Sellers, Paul Smyth, Julian Toniutti and Craig Neve.
Eight newcomers will get their first race action around the Mountain Course in the 1000cc races – Italian Alessandro Polita, British Supersport rider Ben Wilson, British Superstock regulars Victor Cox and Michael Booth, Irish Championship front runner Seamus Elliott, Jochem van den Hoek (Holland), Andre Pires (Portugal), and Cornwall’s Forest Dunn.
Tickets are now on sale and selling fast for the 2016 TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy. Glencrutchery Road Grandstand race day tickets are sold out but there are still TT Fan Zone Grandstand tickets available at Ballacrye, Creg Ny Baa and Nobles Park during practice and race days. Grandstand tickets are also available by purchasing VIP or Platinum Hospitality tickets.