Seeley leads North West 200 prep
With inclement weather conditions forecast for Thursday morning’s second and final practice session at the North West 200, Tyco Suzuki’s five-time winner Alastair Seeley, is looking set for pole position slots in both the blue Riband Superbike and 600 Supersport classes, after setting the fastest times in Tuesday’s opening sessions in Northern Ireland. Seeley was also second fastest in the Superstock class on the new GSX-R1000.
Guy Martin, fresh from his victory at the Cookstown 100 showed no signs of rustiness, posting the second fastest time in the Supersport class on his GSX-R600, just 0.949sec behind team-mate Seeley.
He was fourth fastest in the Superbike session but was a non-qualifier in the Superstock class along with team-mate Conor Cummins – both men suffering similar problems. Although tomorrow’s session should see both men qualify comfortably. Cummins posted the 11th fastest time in the Superbike class.
Alastair Seeley: “Yeah I’m pretty happy with that first session. You can’t get much better than P1 in both Superbike and Supersport and P2 in Superstock is also pretty good. The game plan wasn’t to give Farquhar a tow to the provisional pole time in the ’stock class though, but its front row starts so far and we can’t complain. The bikes have been faultless and it’s just a matter or re-loading now for Thursday and give it another bash.”
Guy Martin: ‘Yeah that was steady away lad. The Supersport and Superbike are bang on as you can see by the times and we’ll have no bother qualifying the Superstock bike tomorrow. All good. Good start. Yeah I’m happy. The team is working well, we’ve got ourselves dialled into the place pretty quickly and I’m looking forward to racing.”
Conor Cummins: “I’m a little disappointed with my Superbike times but we’re there-or-there-abouts and a front row start at the North West is not imperative. We suffered a little problem with the Superstocker and didn’t post a time but we’ll get that sorted in the morning.”
Philip Neill – Team Manager: “It was great to get off to a positive start. We had a couple of niggling little problems, which you always expect on the first night at the North West with so much activity surrounding three riders, but two provisional pole times is just the start we needed. As usual we have a few changes to make here and there for the boys, but all in all we’re pretty happy. We’re looking forward to racing tomorrow night, hopefully in the dry, then get dialled in for Saturday.”
Roads close tomorrow [Thursday] from 9am to 2.30pm for the second and final qualifying sessions. The roads will then close at 5.30pm for the opening races of this year’s event: Superstock Race 1 and Supertwins. Roads re-open at 9pm.
1: Alastair Seeley [Tyco Suzuki] 4mins: 27.564sec
2: John McGuinness Honda] +3.221sec
3: William Dunlop [Honda] +5.096
4: Guy Martin [Tyco Suzuki] +6.294
5: Martin Jessopp [Ducati] +7.005
6: Ian Hutchinson [Yamaha] +7.111
1: Alastair Seeley [Tyco Suzuki] 4min: 45.160sec
2: Guy Martin [Tyco Suzuki] +0.949sec
3: John McGuinness [Honda] +2.123
4: William Dunlop [Honda] +2.737
5: Gary Johnson [Honda] +5.960
6: Stefano Bonetti [Honda] +7.441
1: Ryan Farquhar [Kawasaki] 4min: 37.703sec
2: Alastair Seeley [Tyco Suzuki] +0.494sec
3: John McGuinness [Honda] +2.167
4: Stephen Thompson [BMW] +5.995
5: Bruce Anstey [Honda] +6.007
6: Cameron Donald [Honda] +6.356