Isle of Man TT - who are the likely winners in 2024?

Four leading contenders for TT wins in 2024
Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison and Davey Todd should challenge for TT wins in 2024 [Pacemaker]

The 2024 Isle of Man TT has the potential to be a historic one as Michael Dunlop closes in on his uncle Joey's record of 26 wins, while a number of other riders will be out to thwart the Northern Irishman's efforts.

Dunlop chalked up four victories last year to move to 25 TT wins over the demanding Mountain Course while Peter Hickman also clinched a quadruple to take his tally to 13 at the famous international public road race event.

Both riders will be gunning for more success this time out, and will start as favourites to do just that, but the unpredictable nature of TT racing, with so many different factors at play in what as regarded as the ultimate test of man and machine, may just throw up a few surprises.

The meeting roars into action with qualifying from Monday until Friday, with the first race, Supersport race one, scheduled for Saturday morning.

BBC Sport assesses the prospects for the likely primary protagonists.

Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop on his Superstock Honda
Michael Dunlop clinched five third positions at the recent North West 200 [Pacemaker]

Dunlop stands on the verge of becoming the most successful TT rider ever and has a full stable of machines on which to compete in all four solo classes and eight individual races.

The Ballymoney man rides a new updated version of the Honda Fireblade Superbike for the Hawk Racing team, who have partnered with him for so many of his Mountain Course victories.

Dunlop also has a Honda at his disposal for the Superstock outings but switches to a Triumph 765cc this year for the Supersport category, in which he has won a record 11 races and became the first man to lap the circuit at 130mph in the middleweight class 12 months ago. He remains on a Paton for the Supertwins.

The 35-year-old has had early-season outings at the Bishopscourt Irish short circuit meeting and at the Cookstown 100 road races, where he won an Open race before crashing in the Supersport event, suffering a wrist injury.

He also competed at the Le Mans World Endurance round and at the North West 200, where despite nursing the effects of his injury, he secured five third-place finishes.

Peter Hickman

Peter Hickman won the blue riband Senior TT in 2023
Peter Hickman won the Senior TT for the third time in 2023 to complete a four-timer [Pacemaker]

Hickman continues in the FHO Racing BMW colours for the Superbike and Superstock races in which he has excelled in recent years.

The 37-year-old has won the last five Superstock races in a row, has three career triumphs in the blue riband Senior race, two Superbike victories, two Supertwins successes and a Supersport win to his name.

The Lincolnshire rider will be on board BMW bikes for all the 'big bike' races, plus a Triumph 765cc in the Supersports and a Yamaha R7 in the Supertwins.

As well as picking up four victories 12 months ago, Hickman set a stunning absolute new course record of 136.358mph on his Superstock machine.

An indifferent start to the British Superbike season, including three crashes at Oulton Park, was followed by an impressive North West 200 where he won both Twins races and achieved two runners-up spots while competing under the banner of his own PHR Racing outfit.

He withdrew from the latest BSB round at Donington in order to rest and recover for the TT after a near crash in free practice saw him strain an injured left hand he sustained in one of those Poulton crashes.

Dean Harrison

Dean Harrison
Dean Harrison has switched from Kawasaki to Honda power for TT 2024 [Pacemaker]

The Bradford rider, now resident in Laxey in the Isle of Man, made the move to Honda Racing for the 2024 season after a productive eight-year partnership with DAO Racing Kawasaki came to an end.

The 35-year-old has competed in the opening rounds of the British Superbike season on the new version of the Honda Fireblade for his new team and took second place in a Superstock race and third in the closing Superbike event at the recent North West 200.

Those results gave an insight into Harrison's potential to again take the fight to Hickman and Dunlop at TT 2024.

The Yorkshireman only had a Superstock Honda at his disposal for the North West because of what his team described as "the demands of the early part of the 2024 calendar and schedule and challenges in the supply chain regarding parts and materials" but will also participate on his Superbike and Honda's new Supersport bike at the TT.

Harrison's tally of a second spot and five thirds 12 months ago took his career record at the TT to three wins, 13 second places and eight thirds, an impressive 26 podiums in total.

Davey Todd

Davey Todd aboard his Milwaukee BMW
Davey Todd will hope for better after failing to make the podium at the 2023 TT [Pacemaker]

Davey Todd gave another indication of his undoubted potential to break the dominance of the 'big three' TT riders with a stellar performance at the North West 200 which yielded a double win in the Superstock races, a Supersport triumph and three times finishing a close second to British Superbike frontrunner Glenn Irwin in the feature Superbike races.

The Yorkshireman has also been in outstanding form on British championship short circuits, winning two out of two so far at Oulton Park and Donington in the Superstock 1000cc category in which he was crowned champion in 2022 and taking rostrum places in the Supersports at the season opener in Navarra, Spain.

A new fleet of machinery for the 2024 TT sees the 28-year-old ride Milwaukee BMWs prepared by experienced TT campaigners TAS Racing in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior races, plus a Powertoolmate Ducati in Supersports.

Todd will also be on board a Kawasaki for Dafabet Racing in the Supertwins category.

His only rostrum appearance to date came courtesy of a third place in the 2022 Superstock race, with his best lap to date being 132.982mph.

Strong field of challengers

A strong field of riders has been assembled for this year's races with Isle of Man rider Conor Cummins remaining with the Milenco by Padgett's team, where his team-mate will be Ian Hutchinson, who returns after missing out last year because of suffering a stroke in the months leading up to the event.

Twenty-three time TT winner John McGuinness and Nathan Harrison join Dean Harrison in the Honda Racing set-up, while James Hillier is also Honda-mounted in the 1000cc classes but switches to a Bournemouth Kawasaki for the 600s.

Two-time British Superbike champion Josh Brookes partners Hickman for FHO Racing and rides a Yamaha in the Supersport as he seeks to build on his maiden podium in 2023 while Jamie Coward should challenge strongly in all the classes in which he competes for his KTS Steadplan outfit.

Michael Rutter, David Johnson, Paul Jordan, Craig Neve, Mike Browne, Shaun Anderson and Dominic Herbertson are other 'ones to watch'.