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Michael Dunlop the man to beat at the Isle of Man TT

Michael Dunlop (TYCO BMW) during a practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200 in Portrush on May 12 2018. Picture: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press.
Willis Marshall

The 2018 Isle of Man TT Races gets under way in earnest tonight with the first full practice sessions around the mountain circuit.

The newcomers had their traditional controlled lap on Saturday night but it's now the turn of the big boys to get to grips with the 37-mile circuit.

Heading the front in tonight's practice will be 14 times TT winner Michael Dunlop on the Tyco BMW Superbike, who currently holds the outright lap record for the mountain circuit.

Dunlop, who first put the TYCO BMW through its paces at the North West 200, showed his and the bike's true potential and it is almost certain the pair will create another memorable TT over the next 10 days.

“I'm happy with the package I have and the TAS lads are good to work with. At the North West we had a rear tyre issue but I don't think that will bother us this week,'' said Dunlop.

“I'm not at the TT to get second place, that's the first loser, and I'm determined to do my job and win for myself at the Tyco Team.”

He will however face stiff opposition from the likes of Peter Hickman (Smiths BMW), Dean Harrison (Silicone Kawasaki), James Hillier (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and Lee Johnson (Honda Racing).

Bags of talent indeed but Dunlop is the man to beat in my view.

Ian Hutchinson made his road racing return with Honda Racing at the North West 200 after a year out through injury and surprised a few with his solid top 10 finishes, but the TT will, I believe, just be too much for the talented Yorkshire rider.

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