William Dunlop did not get the chance to race at the North West 200 last Saturday but the Ballymoney man was happy with his display in practice on the Temple Golf Club Yamaha R1.
The 31-year-old was ruled out after crashing at Church Corner in the Superstock race during the Thursday evening race schedule.
Dunlop had qualified seventh fastest in the Superbike class and feels he has made huge progress with the big Yamaha as he prepares for opening practice at the Isle of Man TT, which gets underway on Saturday evening.
“It was a big crash at the North West, certainly the biggest high-side I ever had,” he told the News Letter.
“I had to sit out the races on Saturday but we’re all good for the TT. We’re having some problems with the 600 but I was really happy with the big bike at the North West.
“We were seventh fastest and I think we could have run in the top six in the races, so I was disappointed to miss out,” he added.
“I’m looking forward to the TT and hopefully our luck will change.”
The first practice sessions are due to take place on the Isle of Man from 6.20pm, with the solo newcomers and sidecar newcomers out first on a speed controlled lap.
A session for Lightweight, Supersport and solo newcomers from 6.45pm to 8.50pm will then bring the first night of the two-week Mountain Course festival to an end.
Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson told Manx Radio: “The big message to the newcomers is to take their time, build their speed up and not try to break any records on their first nights.
“For them, it is very much learning year. They are the future of the TT and they can come back and progress in future TTs.
“The tone of the riders briefing will be pretty much upbeat compared to what it was last year given the weather we have at the moment,” he added.
“In 2016, we had such good weather through practice week and into race week and there was so much rubber laid down that we saw lap speeds from the top guys at 132mph and 133mph.
“It was brilliant for race week, but of course sadly that was missing last year.
“It’s always good to get the first practice over with on the Saturday night because it’s a good shakedown for the riders and also the officials.
“It’s a long session for the Supersport and Lightweight bikes and offers the riders the chance to get to grips with the course again and blow away some cobwebs ready for Monday evening.”
Davey Todd from North Yorkshire is among the newcomers this year, riding for the Dungannon-based Burrows Engineering Racing team.