Outright Isle of Man TT lap record holder Bruce Anstey made his mark on Wednesday evening during the first timed qualifying session for the feature classes, topping the Superbike and Supersport leaderboards.
The Valvoline Padgetts Honda rider, who became the first man to lap the Mountain Course at 132mph last year, set the pace in the Superbike class at 128.641mph as the Kiwi edged John McGuinness by less than a second, who lapped at 128.596mph on the Honda Racing Fireblade as both riders completed two laps on the premier class machines.
However, Michael Dunlop will be hoping for a big improvement after the 11-times TT winner languished down the leaderboard on his new Milwaukee Yamaha R1, lapping at 124.519mph.
The session began on time as much improved weather conditions on the island lifted the gloom after Monday’s cancellation and Tuesday’s untimed session, which was cut short by rain.
Bingley rider Ian Hutchinson impressed on the PBM Kawasaki, carrying on his good form from the North West 200 as the Yorkshireman focused solely on his Superbike machine to set the third quickest lap of the evening at 128.300mph, completing four laps of the 37.73-mile course.
Hutchinson was the quickest rider through the Sulby speed trap on the ZX-10R at 192.3mph, with Anstey clocking 190.6mph.
Tyco BMW’s Guy Martin was fourth fastest, rattling off two laps on the S1000RR to nudge 127.453mph ahead of Manx rider Conor Cummins in fifth on the second of the official Honda Racing machines, who lapped at 127.388mph.
Michael Rutter set a strong lap at 127.268mph on the Penz13.com Bathams BMW to complete the top six, followed by Lincolnshire’s Gary Johnson, who set a standing start speed of 127.257mph.
In the Supersport class, Anstey was again the man on the move with a best speed of 125.218mph after two laps, taking the top spot ahead of Martin on the Smiths Triumph (123.082mph) and Mar-Train Racing’s Gary Johnson, who lapped at 121.678mph on the R6.
William Dunlop roared through the Sulby speed trap at a stunning 176.6mph on the CD/IC Racing Yamaha R6 on his way to a lap of 121.651mph, followed by Triumph-mounted Russ Mountford at 121.515mph and Michael Dunlop, who lapped at 121.458mph on his MD Racing Yamaha.
David Johnson from Australia was the leading Superstock rider on his BMW S1000RR at 125.182mph, with Rutter on the Penz13.com BMW second fastest at 124.938mph and McGuinness again featuring at the sharp end on his EMC2 Honda Superstock machine (124.832mph).
Tyco BMW rider Martin went fourth quickest at 124.625mph ahead of Hillier (124.466mph).