Michael Dunlop stands on the brink of greatness as the road racing superpower rallies himself for one final Mountain Course attack in his quest to win Friday’s blue riband PokerStars Senior TT (1pm).
Stung by defeat at the hands of John McGuinness in the sport’s most prestigious race last year, BMW Motorrad rider Dunlop will be desperate to avoid a similar fate this afternoon.
His chief rival appears to be Kiwi Bruce Anstey, who set a sizzling new outright lap record of 132.298mph in last Saturday’s Dainese Superbike race.
The veteran racer carries the number five plate on the Valvoline Padgett’s Honda and sets off 10 seconds in front of Dunlop, who will go all-out to hunt down the 44-year-old on the opening laps.
Dunlop is also entered in Friday morning’s Lightweight race (10.45am) and one more victory would put him level with Steve Hislop and Phillip McCallen on 11 TT wins.
“The bike is mint, the Dunlop tyres have been fantastic and there’s a lot more to come from the BMW,” said Dunlop, who could equal Ian Hutchinson’s 2010 record of five TT wins in a week with a brace today.
“We’re not getting carried away with ourselves but I know in my own head what I’m capable of. Bruce got the lap record but lap records are there to be broken and if conditions are good then it will be broken again on Friday.”
Dunlop and Anstey aside, TT nearly-man Guy Martin on the Tyco Suzuki and Manx rider Conor Cummins (Honda Racing) are key contenders for the rostrum, with William Dunlop (Tyco Suzuki) targeting his first 131mph lap today as the 28-year-old bids to force his way into contention.
Quattro Plant’s James Hillier is another candidate for a podium based on his superb performance in last year’s Senior on his way to fourth place.