CLASSIC TT: Farquhar boosted by flying lap on eve of Classic opener

Ryan Farquhar in action on Roger Winfield's Paton at Ballaugh Bridge last night
Ryan Farquhar in action on Roger Winfield's Paton at Ballaugh Bridge last night

Ryan Farquhar warmed up for today’s Bennetts 500cc Classic TT race with a 110mph lap on the Winfield Paton to top the leaderboard on the Isle of Man last night.

Farquhar clocked 110.006mph to lead team-mate John McGuinness, who managed 109.090mph.

McGuinness, though – who will set off first down the Glencrutchery Road this afternoon for the four-lap Classic TT opener (2.30pm) – is still credited with the fastest speed overall on the Paton after notching 110.634mph on Thursday evening.

Ulsterman Farquhar has previously won five times on Roger Winfield’s Paton at the Manx Grand Prix but last year was ruled out with an engine problem.

The 39-year-old is among the leading contenders for the top step along with McGuinness and last year’s winner Ian Lougher, who is also riding a Paton for Giovanni Cabassi/Flitwick Motorcycles.

Conditions were dry last night but Farquhar said the wind was causing problems at certain parts of the course.

“Conditions are really blowy but it went okay,” he said.

“I changed the set-up for tomorrow’s race and I’m happy with that time.

“We’ve taken a bit of a chance but hopefully I’ll be fit to go quick enough tomorrow. I’m well pleased with that lap so we’ll see what happens.”

Welshman Lougher was third fastest with a lap of 108.043mph with the top six completed by Dean Harrison on the Black Eagle MV Agusta (107.545mph) and Molnar Manx Norton riders Dan Cooper and Danny Webb, who lapped at 106.313mph and 105.619mph respectively.

In the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 class, Bradford’s Dean Harrison led the way on the Steelcote Solutions Kawasaki ZXR750 at 122.767mph with Michael Dunlop next on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 (121.491mph).

Aussie David Johnson on the Team York Suzuki was third fastest at 120.845mph ahead of 2014 winner Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts Racing YZR500 GP Yamaha (120.306mph).

Farquhar (Harris Yamaha) and Lee Johnston (Black Eagle MV Agusta) completed the top six, lapping at 119.762mph and 119.422mph respectively.

William Dunlop, who is riding a 588cc Norton for the National Motorcycle Museum, improved his time to 114.048mph on his first lap but retired at Bray Hill on lap two.

Lougher, who is riding a 1990 TZ250 Yamaha, topped the Formula 2 times with a lap of 109.381mph from Ryan Kneen (TZ250 Yamaha), who clocked 109.176mph.

Manxman Billy Redmayne was fastest in qualifying for the Senior Manx Grand Prix at 119.489mph while Malachi Mitchell-Thomas set the Junior MGP pace at 117.860mph.

Ireland’s Ryan Maher led the way in the MGP Newcomers B session with a lap of 104.879mph on a Kawasaki Supertwin from fellow countryman James Chawke (102.169mph).

Roads close today at 11am, with practice taking place for the Classic TT 350cc and Formula 1/F2 classes from 11.45am.

The 500cc Classic TT is at 2.30pm, followed by MGP practice for Newcomers A, Senior and Junior machines.

A special Norton parade lap will be held at 6.15pm, with the evening brought to a close with practice for MGP Newcomers, Supertwin and Lightweight competitors.

Meanwhile, Eugene Laverty was 16th fastest on the Aspar Honda during free practice yesterday for tomorrow’s British MotoGP at Silverstone.