Isle Of Man warm-up: Team changes and practice laps


The Isle Of Man TT is around the corner, and this week leading up to the race has been as dramatic as the race itself. 

In addition to a rainy practice week, which has even shut down the course on several days, racers have put down some insane laps and we've seen a major player jump teams. 

Michael Dunlop and Ian Hitchinson have near miss during practice

This video, taken on board Michael Dunlop's Yamaha R1, shows a very out-of-shape Ian Hitchinson fly across the screen after coming over a rise at speed, nearly taking out Dunlop. Somehow, Hitchinson manages to save it, get back on the gas, and easily pull away from Dunlop as the two race through the town of Kirk Michael. I don't know about you, but there's no way I'd be able to keep pushing after a close call like this.

Dunlop ditches Yamaha for BMW

Thursday, just two days before the race, Dunlop announced that he's leaving the Milwaukee Yamaha team and will race the TT on his BMW S 1000 RR with the Buildbase BMW team. He'll race his own BMW S 1000 RR in the Superstock race and a Honda CBR600RR in the Supersport event.

There have been reports that the Yamahas have had difficulty maintaining pace and have had some mechanical issues, pumping oil into the airbox at high speeds. During practice, he was only able to manage a 124.52 mph lap compared to Honda's Bruce Anstey's 128.64 mph lap.

This leaves Dunlop with just two days, and two practice sessions, to get ready before Saturday's race.

Guy Martin practice lap

Guy Martin, the fastest man to never win the IOM TT, is looking great after he and the Tyco team ditched his Suzuki GSX-R1000 for BMW. Despite Monday's practice session being cancelled and the weather on the island being less than ideal, this practice lap shows him looking quite comfortable and very fast.

Frank Petricola dies during qualifying

Frank Petricola lost his life during qualifying on Wednesday afternoon. A crash last year at the Northwest 200 kept him from racing at the Isle of Man last year. He came back from those serious injuries and returned to the island, but he died after a crash at the Sulby Crossroads during the opening timed sessions.

We offer our deepest sympathies to Franks's friends and family and wish the best of luck and safety to the other racers riding this year.

The 2015 IOM TT airs on the Velocity network this Saturday.

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