Injury-hit Michael Dunlop arrives on Isle of Man ahead of Classic TT practice

Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 at the Classic TT in 2017.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 at the Classic TT in 2017.
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Michael Dunlop is set to complete his first laps at this year’s weather-hit Classic TT on Thursday.

Dunlop only arrived on the Isle of Man yesterday but the 30-year-old has not missed out on much track action, with poor weather reducing practice so far to a handful of laps on Monday evening.

The Ballymoney man is battling injury following a crash last month at the Southern 100.

Dunlop suffered a reported broken pelvis and hip join but made a successful return two weeks later at his home meeting at Armoy, where he won both Superbike races on the Tyco BMW.

The 19-time Isle of Man winner cleared a medical to race at the Ulster Grand Prix, however Dunlop only competed in the Superstock race - finishing eighth - which was the opening event of the programme on the main Saturday race day.

Dunlop withdrew from all three Superbike races after pulling out of the Supersport class prior to the event.

He is set to ride a Team Classic Suzuki XR69 for Steve Wheatman in Monday’s feature Superbike race, which he has won three times before in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

He missed the event last summer but should prove to be Dean Harrison’s biggest rival. Harrison has won the race for the past two seasons on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki ZXR750 and set the fastest lap on Monday at 123.42mph from a standing start.

The organisers of the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix will be aiming to make up for lost time today after practice was cancelled for a second consecutive evening due to poor weather.

Heavy rain and poor visibility on the Isle of Man left Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson with no option other than to call off qualifying.

The decision was announced at 3pm prior to the roads closing order coming into place.

It is now hoped to utilise an emergency daytime session today in addition to the scheduled evening session in a bid to remain on track for Saturday’s opening race day.

Roads are due to close at 12.30pm with the Senior and Junior Classic and Manx Grand Prix Lightweight, Ultra Lightweight and Newcomers out first.

At 2.45pm, the Classic TT Superbike and Lightweight machines plus the Manx GP Senior, Junior and Newcomers A riders will be in action, with roads set to open at 4.30pm.

The course will close again from 6pm, when the Classic Superbike, Lightweight, Manx GP Senior, Junior and Newcomers A riders will have a two-lap qualifying session.

At 7.15pm, it is hoped to have a Classic TT Senior and Junior session combined with the Manx GP Lightweight, Ultra Lightweight and Newcomers B and C riders.

Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness, a 23-time winner around the Mountain Course, will be aiming to make it back to back wins in Saturday’s Classic Senior race on the Winfield Paton.

McGuinness, who won the Senior race on his comeback following injury on 2108, said the event offered a more relaxed racing experience compared to the TT.

“When you’re riding modern bikes they’re 220bhp and they do 200mph, but sometimes they’re on top on you and you’re not really on top of them,” he said.

“These Classic bikes for us are a bit more chilled and you feel like you’re a bit more in control of them as well.

“They’re not as scary but definitely fun to ride and when you’re hurtling around s this place it’s great fun.”