In its second year of having a fully paved road course to the summit, it should come as no surprise then that qualifying for the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb saw the quickest time ever set by a motorcycle.

It should also come as no surprise that the man setting the record was Carlin Dunne, the 2011 race winner and rookie of the year, and 2012 race winner and outright motorcycle record holder.

Qualifying on the lower section of the Pikes Peak course, Dunne put down an astounding 4’13 lap time — putting him five seconds clear of his nearest two-wheeled competition.

While it is impressive that Dunne was able to beat out the Ducati Multistrada 1200’s in the 1205cc class, what is perhaps the most intriguing piece of news is that Dunne set the qualifying record while riding the Lightning Motorcycles Flying Banana*.

To put Dunne’s qualifying in perspective, the Santa Barbara native beat his own qualifying time from last year, a 4′:16.896, by over three seconds. On pace throughout the entire week, Dunne was noticeably more focused today, and got progressively faster throughout the morning’s qualifying.

Watching him flick the Lightning through Engineers Corner was an impressive sight, especially when you consider that the Lightning weighs near 500 lbs.

Things are shaping up to be a good race on Sunday, with a pair of Ducati Multistrada 1200’s on the pace, and with Dunne looking to make the fastest motorcycle up Pikes Peak an electric one.

*We have a good gentleman’s wager with Lightning CEO Richard Hatfield that if Dunne can beat his own race record of 9’52.819 on Sunday, then the Lightning superbike will from now on referred to as the “Top Banana” on Asphalt & Rubber — now that’s a bet we wouldn’t mind losing.

For the Full Motorcycle Qualifying Results for the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, click here.

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • alexssss

    in a field of 3 its not hard to be top banana – bring mugen and cyzs to the party next time and we’ll see who is truly king o the mountain

  • Cpt.Slow

    “…quickest time ever set by a motorcycle”

    That kind of, ummm, pretty much makes him top banana.

  • Tim M

    Dayum, Carlin OWNS the mountain! I’m thinking an electric engine isn’t affected by elevation changes like an internal combustion motor and maybe that’s an advantage.

  • Asaf

    Is it legal for bikes with clip-ons to take part in the PPIHC?

  • Gutterslob

    Great job, Mr Dunne and Co.
    … but how many seconds (minutes?!) behind Sebastian Loeb in that mentalist Peugeot?

  • Asaf, yes the PPIHC has now made a racing class for bikes with clip-ons under 750cc.

  • Richard Gozinya

    @alexssss Would need to add the Mission R into the mix, just to get a full picture. Now that both the Lightning and Mission are going to be available to the public, it’s only a matter of time before they’re pitted head to head.

  • Rob

    I’m positive a 1000cc superbike would be faster.

    With that said the bike is quick but the battery range is still the biggest reason why I would not consider buying one anytime soon. With a 200-300 mile range I’m sure a lot of people would buy one.

  • Richard Gozinya

    @Rob 200-300 mile range would give it at least double the range of pretty much every sportbike in production today. As for reasons for not buying one, the production bikes that can really compete against a modern sportbike cost around $30k and up. The stuff from Brammo and Zero really aren’t comparable to even a 650 twin, and cost north of $15k. So I think cost is the bigger hurdle.

  • Asaf

    Thanks for the clarification Mr. Beeler!

  • David

    Every sportbike I have ever ridden has unlimited range.

    I just pull in to a gas station and fill up in a couple minutes, then continue on.

    Try that with an electric bike. lol

  • Rob, the field had many 1000cc sportbikes and purpose built 1200cc racebikes. To the point of refueling, each practice day we ran 6-10 practice sessions in 2.5 hrs.

  • Rob, the field had many 1000cc sportbikes and purpose built 1200cc racebikes. To the point of refueling, each practice day we ran 6-10 practice sessions in 2.5 hrs.

  • Westward

    If an electric bike had a range of 200-300 miles on a full charge, it would relegate all ICE bikes to weekend warrior use. I even think the two wheel community would increase significantly.

    The only thing holding me back thus far is the 15K price tag, for a third of the price I could get a 300cc Ninja, or for half I could get any number of 650cc bikes on the market. It would almost take a decade for me the spend the difference in fuel.

    Now, if electrics were less than 10k, plus government incentives, I’d have one in the house by yesterday…

  • FYI, the 1000cc sport bikes are relegated to the exhibition class for motorcycles.