Michael Rutter proved today at the North West 200, why he’s still a huge threat for victories around the Triangle, as he qualified on Superbike pole position, for the first time since 2011.
Lapping at 4 minutes 23.943 seconds, the 13 times North West 200 winners lap time on the Bathams SMT Racing BMW, was enough to overhaul Alastair Seeley, for the top spot overall in qualifying.
Photo by Rod Neill
Glenn Irwin second quickest today, overall qualifies third on the Be Wiser Ducati, in front of Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW).
Michael Dunlop (Bennetts Suzuki) third fastest this afternoon, qualifies only fifth, due to not completing two qualifying laps today.
Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) sealed the final spot on the second row of the grid for the premier Superbike encounters, whilst Ian Hutchinson seventh fastest, had today a low key session.
William Dunlop impressed finishing eighth quickest, the Temple Golf Club backed rider, assuring Yamaha will have a notable presence within the marque races.
Concluding the top ten on the time sheets, was Jackson Racing’s Lee Johnston and reigning Duke Road Race Rankings champion, Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison.
Outside of first ten in qualifying, additional riders to impress included IRRC Supersport great Marek Cerveny, who is showcasing why he is rated amongst continental Europe’s leading pure road racers.
Unfortunately today’s Superbike qualifying session, was cut short with about 20 minutes ago, due to an incident at Primrose Corner involving 23 times TT winner John McGuinness.
The works Honda rider, is believed to have sustained a suspected broken leg, Road Racing News wishes him a very speedy recovery.
Vauxhall International North West 200 – Combined Superbike Qualifying Times:
1 Michael Rutter 4.23.943
2 Alastair Seeley 4.25.100
3 Glenn Irwin 4.25.655
4 Martin Jessopp 4.26.192
5 Michael Dunlop 4.27.639
6 Peter Hickman 4.29.455
7 Ian Hutchinson 4.29.782
8 William Dunlop 4.30.151
9 James Hillier 4.30.808
10 Lee Johnston 4.31.515
11 Dean Harrison 4.31.529
12 Derek Sheils 4.31.671
13 John McGuinness 4.31.687
14 Bruce Anstey 4.32.898
15 Dan Kneen 4.33.081
16 Jamie Coward 4.34.2577
17 Horst Saiger 4.35.196
18 Steve Mercer 4.35.555
19 Guy Martin 4.36.344
20 Marek Cerveny 4.37.677
Words by Stevie Rial