NW200: Michael Rutter tops Tuesday Superbike times

Michael Rutter on the Bathams BMW at the North West 200
Michael Rutter on the Bathams BMW at the North West 200

Michael Rutter set the early pace in the Superbike class at the Vauxhall International North West 200 on Tuesday.

The 13-time winner took full advantage of the dry and sunny conditions on the Bathams BMW S1000RR to claim provisional pole with a speed of 121.106mph for the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit.

Rutter, who is the joint most successful rider ever in the Superbike class on nine wins with Joey Dunlop, edged out Mar-Train Racing’s Alastair Seeley, who lapped at 120.382mph on the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin was third fastest at 120.157mph followed by team-mate William Dunlop (119.563mph).

Yeovil’s Martin Jessopp was next on the Riders Motorcycles BMW followed by British Superbike title contender Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamaha in fifth.

Michael Dunlop, riding his factory-supported BMW Superbike for the first time on Tuesday, was eighth fastest.

There was huge disappointment for Milwaukee Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson, who crashed during practice for the Supersport class at Mill Road Roundabout and missed the Superbike session, but escaped with bruising.

William Dunlop led the Supersport times for Tyco Suzuki at 114.754mph from Rutter on the Smiths Triumph (114.192mph) and Seeley in third on his British championship Yamaha R6 (114.179mph.)

Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston was fourth fastest at 114.118mph.

Michael Dunlop was eighth on his MD Racing Honda followed by Brookes and Bruce Anstey.

More to follow.