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Road racing Isle of Man TT

Hickman’s 2023 Isle of Man TT “not going to plan” with Superbike “kicking me out”

Peter Hickman admits his 2023 Isle of Man TT is “not going to plan” so far with his FHO Racing BMW Superbike, as it’s “been the hardest one” to ride.

Peter Hickman, Superbike

The nine-time TT winner won all of the big bike races at the 2022 event on the new M1000RR, which he said after the Senior TT last year was the “best” bike he’d ever ridden around the 37.75-mile course.

Hickman was quick throughout practice week on his Superbike, ending Friday with a near-record lap of 134.91mph despite being visibly unhappy with his machinery when he came back to parc ferme.

Speaking after snatching second in the opening Supersport race of TT 2023 on Saturday, Hickman says he will be making big changes to his M1000RR ahead of Sunday’s Superbike contest.

“The big bike’s been the hardest one so far,” he said.

“It’s really kicking me out. I can do it, but it’s just really physical and normally with the Superbike we don’t have that problem with me however we’ve set it up.

“But this year’s not going to plan at the minute. So the big bike is the one that takes it out of me at the minute.

“We’re going to make some big changes for tomorrow and we’ll see if we can do it.”

Hickman spent most of the Supersport race sitting in third and was over 10 seconds behind Dean Harrison in second at one stage.

But a mighty final lap of 129.039mph on his Trooper Triumph saw him overhaul Harrison by just 0.394s.

Commenting on his race, he told TT’s live feed said: “It’s not necessarily an excuse, it’s a real thing – I just take too long to get going on the small bike.

“I ride it like a big bike because I’m a big bike rider. It takes me to get to the pits, the first couple of laps to almost reset and then I can really get my head down.

“The last lap, I was really confused with my [pit] boards at one point because I knew I was nine or 10 seconds away at one point, I said ‘wow, that’s a long way’.

“Then the next thing I saw it was down to six, down to three, then as soon as it got to three I was like ‘that’s it I need to be absolutely on the limit everywhere’.

Peter Hickman, Supersport

Peter Hickman, Supersport

Photo by: ttracesofficial/Pacemaker Press

“It was a super, super hard last lap. I got tucked in as much as I could with my 6ft2 frame, and managed to pip him. Super happy we’re on the podium, just need to figure out how to beat MD [Michael Dunlop] now.”

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Dunlop notched up his 22nd TT victory after dominating the Supersport race, and is now just one away from matching TT legend John McGuinness’ tally of 23 to move into joint second on the all-time winners list.

The Ulsterman admits his race was “tough going” because of his competition, and revealed he was battling engine problems on his MD Racing Yamaha Supersport bike prior to the Saturday.

“I knew the boys were going to get hot and heavy,” he said.

“I felt good, I just haven’t done a lot of laps on the 600 which isn’t normal.

“Mostly I just seem to be doing a lot more with the big bike. I was with an issue last night after the warm-up, so we had a wee bit of work on our hands.

“But yeah, we got the engine sorted again and she’s flying, the bike’s flying, boys did great work. The wee bike never missed a beat.”

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