“She has been a bit of a pig for all of the two weeks,” Hickman said of his Superbike. “She has been taking me for a ride, rather than me riding her. The team have a done a fantastic job and the team have been working so hard to figure out what it was. Until this morning it wasn’t rectified. Yesterday it still wasn’t right. Today, in the warm-up, I went down Bray Hill and knew that we’ve finally cracked it.
“Dean got out of the right side of bed this morning. Michael has been fantastic all week. It is amazing and thank you to everyone. I think a few people thought I was making excuses [after Sunday’s Superbike race], but I’m not that kind of person. I had a little bit more left in the tank but Dean lifted off with a lap to spare. Thanks to everyone.
For Dunlop, it means he will have to wait until 2024 before having the chance to equal uncle Joey’s outright record of 26 wins, having taken four race victories this week to put himself one behind on 25.
“I thought we would have definitely went quicker,” said Dunlop. “I tried something [with set up], I thought the pace was going to get faster. We should have been well into the 36’s but the pace has slowed down a wee bit, I’m not sure why.
“We made a bit of a change to allow for that but then we lost a bit. The boys are pushing hard and it was going to get hot and heavy. It took a lap or two to get settled in, we ran out of a bit of scope really.
“There is only so much you can do. That is the way it was and we always try to go faster. At the end of the day we have won four races this week. We could have won more, we could have won less. That’s the way it goes.”
Harrison ended the week on a high though, securing a best finish of second after finishing every solo ride on the rostrum. “I’ve had six races and six podiums, and second in the Senior,” Harrison said.
“A win would have been nice but everyone is trying to do the same. Thanks to the team, the bikes have been perfect. It’s been hard and I’ve time for a bit of a rest now. I said I was going to go from the start and put my head down. I pushed on and got a rhythm. I had a couple of issues mid race but nothing major I want to complain about.”
Hickman signed off the week by paying tribute to the late Raul Torras, who died in a crash at the end of the opening Supertwin race earlier in the week. With an outpouring of tributes for the Spaniard – the fastest rider around the TT from Spain – his brother Angel waved off the field for the start of the second Supertwin race on Friday that was won by Hickman himself.
“My thoughts are with Raul’s family, who is not coming home this weekend,” Hickman said.. “He was a good friend and my thoughts are with him.”
What is the Isle of Man TT?
Over the course of two weeks, the public roads of the Isle of Man shut down and become one of the fastest race circuits in the world, eclipsed only by the Ulster Grand Prix in Northern Ireland which currently boasts the fastest lap average.
The TT features five different categories that this year will all race twice over the course of eight days. Solo riders will jump between Superbike, Superstock, Supersport and Supertwin machines, while riders will team up with a passenger to compete in the two Sidecar races.
Events are very weather-dependent and lengthy delays can occur, particularly when public roads are used throughout the fortnight when races are not taking place – oil spills, parked cars and rogue wildlife are a common occurrence.
Where can I watch it?
For years, coverage of the TT has only been available through TV highlight shows on ITV4 each night. But last year TT organisers unveiled new plans to provide live coverage online through the TT+ Live Pass, which returns again for 2023.
Access will cost a one-off sum of £19.99 for the fortnight, which will include coverage of all qualifying and race sessions, daily round-ups and hours of exclusive TT programming.
You can also follow race week with Telegraph Sport.
Isle of Man TT 2023 results
Monster Energy Supersport Race One results
1. Michael Dunlop 01:11:22.090
2. Peter Hickman +12.329
3. Dean Harrison +0.393
4. Jamie Coward +41.277
5. Davey Todd +2.836
3Wheeling.Media Sidecar TT Race 1
1. Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall 56:53.768
2. Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley +24.066
3. John Holden/Maxime Vasseur +3:15.401
4. Steve Ramsden/Mathew Ramsden +3.551
5. Gary Bryan/Philip Hyde +16.212
RST Superbike TT
1. Michael Dunlop 1:43:01.854
2. Peter Hickman +8.233
3. Dean Harrison +9.806
4. James Hillier +2:00.343
5. Jamie Coward +10.440
RL360 Superstock TT Race 1
1. Peter Hickman 51:05.244
2. Michael Dunlop +23.171
3. Dean Harrison +14.827
4. Davey Todd +23.007
5. James Hillier +8.570
Carole Nash Supertwin TT Race 1 – 3-laps
1. Michael Dunlop 56:21.475
2. Mike Browne +26.783
3. Jamie Coward +2.237
4. Peter Hickman +26.045
5. Josh Brookes +11.129
3wheeling.media Sidecar TT Race 2 – 3-laps
1. Ben Birchall/Tom Birchall 56:41.815
2. Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley +9.147s
3. Ryan Crowe/Callum Crowe +47.632
4. Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes +1:36.317
5. Steve Ramsden/Mathew Ramsden +38.961
Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 2
1. Michael Dunlop 1:10:50.234
2. Peter Hickman +9.617
3. Dean Harrison +24.811
4. Davey Todd +11.878
5. Jamie Coward +21.623
RL360 Superstock TT Race 2 – 3-laps
1. Peter Hickman 50:48.330
2. Michael Dunlop +17.184
3. Dean Harrison +40.836
4. Conor Cummins +18.300
5. Josh Brookes +23.741
Carole Nash Supertwin TT Race Two results
1. Peter Hickman
2. Pierre Yves Bian +47.784s
3. Josh Brookes +2.001s
4. Stefano Bonetti +27.398s
5. Rob Hodson +7.576s
Milwaukee Senior TT – 6-laps
1. Peter Hickman
2. Dean Harrison +19.989
3. Michael Dunlop +20.422
4. Conor Cummins +1:30.917
5. Josh Brookes +23.564
Who are the riders to watch?
Peter Hickman is expected to be the man to beat in 2023 after winning nine of the last 16 solo races [not including the TT Zero race. Hickman also has the outright lap record, an average of 135.452mph set back in the 2018 Senior TT, as well as the Superstock TT record. The Monster Energy by FHO Racing BMW rider is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Hickman’s main competitor over those years has been Dean Harrison. Riding this year on the Dao Racing Kawasaki, Harrison has three wins to his name including the 2019 Senior TT.
But both will be keeping an eye on the threat of 21-time TT winner Michael Dunlop, who looks to be in his best form in years and has hit the ground running during qualifying week. Dunlop sits just five race wins behind his uncle Joey Dunlop, who remains the man with the most TT wins in history, and with eight solo race wins up for grabs in 2023 – more than ever before – that gap could be cut significantly by the end of the week.
The Padgetts Honda duo of Davey Todd and local Manxman Conor Cummins are also hotly tipped to be on the pace, although the latter has been struggling with illness throughout qualifying week, while Hickman’s British Superbikes team-mate Josh Brookes returns to the TT for the first time since 2018 and is already threatening the 130mph barrier.
Another TT legend to keep one eye on is John McGuinness, the 24-time winner who is within a whisker of matching Joey Dunlop’s record. At the age of 51 years old, McGuinness’ fastest days may be behind him but he has his sights set on returning to the podium this year with Honda Racing and the veteran can never be ruled out of contention if things are going his way.
How many riders have died?
The TT would not be the challenge it is without its level of risk and danger. In total, 266 riders and passengers have died on the Snaefell Mountain Course, which hosts the TT as well as the Manx Grand Prix and the Classic TT.
There have been 155 deaths caused by accidents in the TT alone, with 2022 proving particularly tragic as six deaths were recorded over the fortnight.