He secures 22nd TT win ahead of epic battle for second and third
Michael Dunlop has taken the first win of this year's TT races after a commanding victory in today's opening Supersport TT Race 1.
The Ballymoney man took the chequered flag 12.33 seconds ahead of Peter Hickman who was involved in a thrilling last-gasp battle for the two remaining podium places with Dean Harrison who was made to settle for third by just 0.39 seconds.
It takes Dunlop onto 22 TT wins, just one behind John McGuinness in the all-time standings.
Dean Harrison laid down the first marker going fastest at Glen Helen on the opening lap, but Dunlop quickly then took command at Ballaugh before stretching his advantage to lead following the opening full course run.
Into lap two and Dunlop further began to assert his dominance as he cleared traffic in front of him to start increasing his lead at the top to eventually cross the line a second time for the first pit stops 13.4 seconds clear of Harrison at 129.136mph.
Despite a quicker pit stop, Harrison was unable to reign in Dunlop as the field across the race began to spread out far more going into the penultimate lap - elsewhere Peter Hickman, who couldn't make up too much ground in third, was giving himself a cushion of over 23 seconds from his nearest podium contender behind, Jamie Coward in fourth.
As Dunlop showed no let up, Hickman began to up his pace closing the gap on lap three to Harrison to just under four seconds going into lap four.
That battle however proved no match for Dunlop who, despite letting off the near lap-record pace he'd showed earlier, would still secure top spot with a final lap speed of 127.928mph.
All eyes were then on the thrilling battle for second as Hickman continued to close in on Harrison right down to the wire in the final stages, and Hickman snatched it at the last to cross in second less than half a second ahead of his DAO Racing rival.
The next race in the class, the Supersport TT Race 2, is due to take place on Wednesday, 7 June, at 11.45am.