until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Motorcycle racing

Hickman opens 2024 account with 'gifted' Superbike TT win

by Simon Patterson
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Peter Hickman took a fortuitous win in the opening Superbike TT race of the 2024 Isle of Man TT, positioning himself in the right place to capitalise on a disastrous pitstop for opening race winner Michael Dunlop, whose commanding lead disappeared when his visor came loose.

Dean Harrison and Davey Todd were early race leaders, but both were soon caught by Dunlop - who is chasing becoming the most successful TT racer in history after matching his uncle Joey’s all-time win record of 26 on Saturday. At the end of lap four of six he had pulled out a comfortable 25-second lead.

However, as Dunlop rejoined the race alongside Harrison (who started 20s ahead of him), it was apparent right away that something was wrong right away as his visor (changed during the pitstop) started to flap. Eventually stopping on Bray Hill and removing his helmet to reattach it, Dunlop’s race-winning hopes were over.

Meanwhile, with Todd’s Ducati refusing to restart initially after his own stop, it was pre-race favourite Hickman who finally got going after a slow start to the race and hunted down Harrison.

Turning up the pressure in the final laps, he was able to eke out a five-second lead that took him comfortably to the chequered flag.

“Obviously I’ve got a couple of pit boards around the course,” said Hickman of his late charge, “but I just wasn’t fast enough. The first couple of laps in particular, I just didn’t seem to have the pace.

“The bike was moving around a lot more than it had done in practice, but to be honest I don’t think there was necessarily an issue, I just… I dunno, that was just the feeling I had from the bike, and I just wasn’t fast enough to be totally honest. Everything worked pretty well. 

“To be fair, we’ve been gifted it a little bit, but it is an endurance race. I’ve lost races here because of bike problems and other things, so it’s swings and roundabouts isn’t it really. We have been gifted it a little bit, but to finish first, first you’ve got to finish.”

Rejoining alongside Dunlop when he eventually got his Ducati going again, Todd was able to latch onto the back of the Northern Irishman and work together with him as the pair hunted down Harrison, and while the gap was too much for Dunlop to close down, Todd was able to steal second, with factory Honda rider Harrison coming home a further five seconds down.

Delivering a lap of almost 136mph average on the last of the six, Dunlop did heroic work in trying to close the distance to the podium again but was forced to settle for fourth, another 15s back on Harrison.

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