Michael Rutter captured a historic victory in the Lightweight TT for Paton, earning the Italy-based company’s first ever TT win. The modern Paton has only been around for a couple of years, first competing in the Isle of Man TT in 2014. The win broke up Kawasaki’s near-dominance of the Lightweight TT, with nine of the top 10 and 11 of the top 13 finishes all riding Ninja 650s (to be fair, the Paton S1‘s engine is based on the Ninja 650’s powerplant, but the rest of the bike was designed by Paton).
Rutter led from the start, taking a 1 second lead over Paton teammate Stefano Bonetti, with Martin Jessopp a little further behind in third. Also in the mix were last year’s Lightweight TT winner, Ivan Lintin, Daniel Cooper and Peter Hickman.
By the end of the first lap, Rutter held a 4.4 second lead over Bonetti. It looked like there might be two Patons the podium but Bonetti had to retire on the second lap. That bumped Jessopp up to second, but he remained 10.6 seconds behind thanks to a race-best 120.362 mph lap by Rutter. Lintin was third but he lost time in the pit to change his helmet.
Jessopp’s crew worked faster than Rutter’s did, and the gap for the lead narrowed to just 2.8 seconds when they passed Glen Helen for the third time. Meanwhile, Hickman took advantage of Lintin’s helmet delay to move up to third.
Rutter made up for the slower pit time and began increasing his lead once again. As they began their fourth and final lap, Rutter’s buffer had grown to 7.9 seconds.
Both Rutter and Jessopp recorded average speeds over 120 mph on the final lap with Rutter finishing with a new Lightweight TT race record, averaging 118.645 mph, breaking Lintin’s race record of 118.454 mph set last year.
|2017 Isle of Man TT: Lightweight TT Top Five Results|
|1||Michael Rutter||Paton/Paton SC-Project Reparto Corse||1:16:19.324||118.645 mph|
|2||Martin Jessopp||Kawasaki/Riders Motorcycles||1:16:28.142||118.417 mph|
|3||Peter Hickman||Kawasaki/KMR/IEG Racing||1:17:08.637||117.381 mph|
|4||Ivan Lintin||Kawasaki/Dafabet Devitt RC Express||1:17:40.865||116.569 mph|
|5||Daniel Cooper||Kawasaki/KW Electrical Services||1:17:57.900||116.144 mph|