With qualifying conditions perfect for both qualifying sessions, Conor placed 12th in the first 25-minute session and then improved his times further in final qualifying on Sunday. Despite the increase in both track and ambient temperature, the Manxman took a further four tenths of a second off his time and his final lap of 1m36.767s consolidated his 12th place on the third row of the grid. He was also the second quickest Yamaha rider.
Race day was significantly cooler, with the threat of rain never too far away, but conditions remained dry throughout. A strong start saw the 22-year old move up to 10th place and here he stayed until the fourth lap when he was nudged back to 11th by Howie Mainwaring. Four laps later he was relegated to 12th but, part of a seven-rider battle for 6th, positions were changing all the time. Regaining a place when he overtook James Storrar, Conor was then up to 10th with three laps to go, as John McGuinness was forced to retire. Here he remained until the chequered flag to maintain his 100% finishing record and take yet another top ten finish. Like practice, he was again the second Yamaha on the results sheet.
Speaking later Conor said:
"It was a real good race today and it was great to be battling it out for a top six position. Practice was quite tough as the track was quite slippy and we were all struggling for grip but I made a good start in the race to give myself a great chance of finishing inside the top ten. We made some more improvements to the R1 Yamaha over the course of the weekend and are learning all the time, also edging ever closer to the front pack. Another finish inside the top ten shows that we're heading in the right direction and I'm sure we'll be even further up the results sheets at the next round."
Picture by Glynne Lewis