Peter Hickman and the FHO Racing BMW team got race week underway with a stunning victory in today’s RST Superbike race.
Riding the Gas Monkey Garage BMW M1000RR, Hickman was never headed during the six laps and, aided by the fastest lap of the race at 133.461mph, won by almost 40 seconds to take his sixth TT victory.
Having set the fastest lap during qualifying, the 35-year old came into the race very much as the man to beat and, with perfect conditions all around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, the outright lap record holder never gave anyone else a chance.
Halfway round the first lap at Ballaugh, Hicky was already three seconds clear of second placed Dean Harrison and with a first lap speed of 133.18mph, he was able to extend his advantage to 9.3s. Second time around, he upped his pace to 133.461mph which almost doubled his lead and with a great pit stop by the team, his grip on the race tightened.
Extending his lead at each timing point, the Louth-based rider’s lead was 36s when he came into the pits at the end of the fourth lap and, with his second pit stop as good as the first, he was able to control the race in its final third and bring the bike home first.
Team-mate Brian McCormack didn’t have the same fortune, unfortunately and he was forced to retire at the end of the second lap after running into technical issues. It was particularly disappointing for the Waterford man as during the the morning warm-up lap, he was finally feeling happier with his FHO Racing/Roadhouse Macau BMW after encountering problems during qualifying
“What a race! The bike was absolutely awesome today and it never missed a beat so a big thanks to the team for all their hard work during the week. For a change, I was quick on the first lap and got into the lead straightaway – not like previous years when I’ve been down the leaderboard a little bit – so once there, I just got my head down. I was able to open up a gap to second and control the lead, short shifting and rolling off the throttle where I could so as to put less stress on the engine. There’s no need to push harder or quicker than you need to so I just settled into a nice rhythm. The bike looks the part, it goes the part and I’m happy to start the week with a win.”
“It was a real shame to retire from today’s race as we’d finally got the bike going well in the morning warm-up lap. I came in from that feeling really happy with the bike and when the race got underway, I had a half decent first lap and was settling nicely into the race. Unfortunately, halfway round lap two, I ran into a technical issue and had to retire at the pits but the good thing is that we’d gone in the right direction with the set-up. With a couple more laps under our belt we’ll be ready for the Senior race and I’m now looking forward to Monday’s Superstock race.”
Faye Ho, Team Principal:
“Wow, what a way to start our week! To get our first TT win at the very first time of asking is unbelievable and a dream come true. Peter rode a faultless race and, having shown his pace in qualifying, he was able to convert that form into victory so a huge well done to him and the team for all their preparation and hard work. He was able to grab the lead from the outset and control things from there and we’re all over the moon. It’s just a shame Brian wasn’t able to get a good result as well and he was unlucky to hit problems just after he’d got the Superbike dialled in. I’m sure he’ll bounce back well though and the Superstock race gives us all another chance of two good results.”
Both Peter and Brian will be next out in Monday’s four-lap Superstock TT race.
RST Superbike race (6 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (Gas Monkey Garage by FHO Racing BMW)
2 Dean Harrison (Kawasaki)
3 Michael Dunlop (Suzuki)
4 Ian Hutchinson (BMW)
5 John McGuinness (Honda)
6 Jamie Coward (Yamaha)
DNF Brian McCormack (FHO Racing BMW/The Roadhouse Macau)