Hickman won the six-lap opener by 39.2 seconds on the Gas Monkey Garage BMW by FHO Racing from Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki), with Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop sealing his 30th TT podium in third on the Hawk Racing Suzuki.
It was the first TT race in almost three years, 1,093 days since Harrison won the 2019 Senior.
Now a six-time TT winner, Hickman will be aiming to keep the ball rolling when he goes for glory in the first Monster Energy Supersport race (10:45) on the Trooper Beer Triumph 765, before switching back to his BMW M1000RR for the RL360 Superstock race (15:00).
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In a change to the schedule, the first 3wheeling.media Sidecar race – abandoned on Saturday following a fatal accident that claimed the life of French passenger Olivier Lavorel – has been added to Monday's schedule at 13:10 and will be run over two laps, while the Supersport and Superstock events have been reduced by one lap to three laps.
On current form, 35-year-old Hickman will fancy his chances of adding at least another win after warning that he had “started the week as we mean to go on” after his commanding Superbike success.
He took the race by the scruff of the neck from the off and led Harrison by 9.3s following a standing start lap at 133.18mph, before turning the screw further with the fastest lap of the race at 133.461mph despite slowing for his first pit-stop. Hickman continued to extend his advantage on every lap to win by 39 seconds, establishing a new Superbike race record – held previously by Michael Dunlop in 2018 – in a time of 1h 43m 58.564s.
“Awesome, especially after this long break that we’ve all had,” Hickman reflected afterwards.
“To be here and win the first race, we’ve started the week as we mean to go on.
“I managed to pull a bit of a gap early, and once that bit’s done you can kind of manage, and that exactly what I did – managed the race, myself and the bike.”
Bradford man Harrison had no answer to Hickman and was forced to dig deep on his final two laps to cement second place after Dunlop closed to within six seconds of the Kawasaki rider.
“I think Michael had caught me at the end and I was really pushing on the last lap,” said Harrison, who did his fastest lap of the race on the final lap at 132.79mph.
“But Pete is absolutely flying everywhere he goes so fair play to him, and massive thanks to all the crowd out there who were waving, and all the marshals.”
Dunlop began to close on Harrison after he was able to tag on behind Hickman when the race leader passed him on the road on lap three at Windy Corner.
However, the 19-time TT winner eventually finished 18.4s behind Harrison, and was more than two minutes ahead of Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee BMW) in fourth, who reeled in John McGuinness on the time sheets.
Dunlop said: “We made a massive change this morning and had to do the warm-up lap because we work struggling and it didn’t work, so we went with something else – Steve (Hicken) – pulled something out of the bag and it definitely helped me.
"All week it’s been hard for laps and even though we’ve had a good week, we’ve had different scenarios and that was probably our first consistent run, and probably I need to sharpen myself up a bit and pull my finger out.”
McGuinness made a milestone 100th TT start on a special liveried Honda Racing Fireblade and claimed a solid fifth, with Jamie Coward in sixth on the KTS/Steadplan Yamaha.
Davey Todd and Conor Cummins both retired on their Milenco by Padgett’s Honda machines on lap two when they were right in the hunt for a podium. Todd was forced out when his rear Dunlop tyre appeared to delaminate.
Lee Johnston was also a retirement on lap three on the Ashcourt BMW when he was holding fifth.
Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) set the fastest ever lap by a newcomer at 129.85mph to take eighth ahead of fellow Northern Ireland man Shaun Anderson in ninth (Crendon by Hawk Racing Suzuki).