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Hickman battling 8mph deficit on Supersport bike at 2024 Isle of Man TT

Peter Hickman says he’s battling an 8mph deficit on his Supersport bike at the 2024 Isle of Man TT, having missed the class podium for the first time since 2016.

Peter Hickman Supersport TT 2024

Hickman – who is now a 14-time TT winner after claiming Sunday’s Superbike race – has been a factor in the Supersport battle at the Isle of Man since 2017 on his Trooper Triumph.

Taking one win and eight podiums in the class in that time, that run was broken in last Saturday’s 2024 TT Supersport opener when he struggled to ninth, finishing just over a minute and 15s from winner Michael Dunlop.

Speaking to Autosport on Tuesday, Hickman has revealed his struggles in Saturday’s race were down to a major speed deficit that his team hasn’t found a reason for.

“Supersport really didn’t go to plan at all,” he said. “We’re a long way down on speed, which we were not really expecting coming into here.

“The biggest problem with that is we don’t really know why. We’ve even tried different engines and it doesn’t seem to make a difference, so we’re not really sure what’s going on.

“So, it is what it is. Sometimes things don’t go to plan, do they?

“But the boys are working really hard, they’re trying to figure out what it is and if we can make it a little bit better.

“But at the end of the day, we’re 8mph down in a straight line.

Peter Hickman Supersport TT 2024

Peter Hickman Supersport TT 2024

Photo by: Pacemaker Press / iomttraces press

“You ain’t gonna beat other people who are on the ball with an 8mph deficit. So, it’s a bit unfortunate but it’s the way things go sometimes.”

Hickman isn’t the only Triumph rider to suffer issues with their bike in Supersport at TT 2024.

Jamie Coward, expected to be a big podium threat last Saturday, was forced to retired when his bike’s engine cut out – an issue he said on social media that “most Triumph teams this year have had”, and is believed to be down to the firmware being run.

And after the opening night practice, Michael Dunlop ditched the Triumph he was using in favour of the Yamaha R6 he has ridden to victory over the last three years.

Hickman a strong bet to deny Dunlop history again in Tuesday’s Supertwin race

The race schedule for Tuesday 4 June has been heavily disrupted by rain, which has forced the postponement of the first Superstock contest and pushed the first Supertwin race back to 7:40pm BST.

Dunlop comes into it with a chance to top the all-time winners’ list at the TT with 27, after matching the record of 26 held by his late uncle Joey since 2000 in last Saturday’s Superport race.

He led the qualifying times for the class last week at 121.882mph on his MD Racing-run Paton S1-R, which he rode to victory in last year’s first Supertwin contest.

Hickman was his closest challenger in practice week, posting a 120.885mph best on the improved Yamaha R7 package being run under the Swan Racing banner.

Peter Hickman Supertwin TT 24

Peter Hickman Supertwin TT 24

Photo by: Pacemaker Press / iomttraces press

He won both Supertwin races at the North West 200 last month, and though he contests the R7 is still down on power compared to the Paton, he is confident the rest of the package is strong enough to give him a chance at victory.

“The little Swan Superstwin R7 seems to be going pretty good,” he told Autosport.

“So, we’re quite happy with that at the minute. We’re going to find out in the race just how good it is.

“The Paton has still definitely got an edge on us, we’ve still got probably four, maybe five mph down really.

“But it’s really strong in other areas and it’s got a really good chassis on it at the moment. So, let’s see what happens with that.”

He added: “We’ve made some pretty big steps with it and there’s still some more to come.

“But we’re fairly happy with it. Like I said, it’s still not the strongest twin, we know it’s not. But generally speaking, she’s been pretty reliable.

“We had some issues in practice last year and we’ve worked out what that problem was. It was actually something that was causing the engine issues, it wasn’t actually the engines going wrong themselves.

“And since that point – touch wood – she’s been pretty good, and not just pretty good, she’s been fairly fast as well. It’s not the fastest thing and it’s not far off.”

Michael Dunlop Supertwin TT 24

Michael Dunlop Supertwin TT 24

Photo by: Pacemaker Press / iomttraces press

Intriguingly, a win for Hickman in Tuesday evening’s Supertwin race will once again continue Dunlop’s wait to make TT history.

That was the case last year in the class, when a mechanical issue took Dunlop out of the lead and Hickman scored an unlikely win on the R7 in the second Supertwin race of the week.

That kept Dunlop on 25 wins, as did Hickman’s victory in the following day’s Senior TT finale.

When Dunlop suffered visor issues in last Sunday’s Superbike TT, it was Hickman who profited the most and came through to win to once again keep the Ulsterman away from an historic result.

With strong practice form last week for the likes of Jamie Coward on his Kawasaki Z650, Dominic Herbertson on a Paton, Davey Todd on a Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the Aprilia of Mike Browne, Tuesday’s Supertwin opener is shaping up to be a tight affair.

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