ULSTER GP: Bruce Anstey on top in Superbike qualifying

Bruce Anstey claimed pole for the Superbike races at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix
Bruce Anstey claimed pole for the Superbike races at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix

New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey produced a blistering 133.163mph lap to clinch pole position for Saturday’s Superbike races at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.

The Valvoline Padgetts Honda rider, who holds the outright lap record at the 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit at 133.977mph set in 2010, secured the top spot from Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin by 0.548 seconds.

Lincolnshire rider Martin, who has 11 wins at the Ulster GP, lapped at 132.801mph and is joined on the front row by team-mate William Dunlop, whose 132.047mph lap was 1.693 seconds down on Kiwi Anstey.

BMW star Michael Dunlop will start from the second row in fourth place, lapping at 131.686mph, with the 25-year-old’s fastest time 2.247 seconds off the benchmark set by Anstey.

Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston on the Pirtek Honda (131.673mph) and Manx rider Dan Kneen (Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki) were the top six, with Kneen lapping at 131.210mph.

Circuit rookie Peter Hickman - the fastest ever newcomer at the Isle of Man TT - was an excellent seventh was an excellent seventh on the Ice Valley BMW Superstock machine.

The British Superbike rider’s speed of 131.190mph means Hickman has taken over from Dean Harrison as the fastest newcomer at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Harrison, Milwaukee Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson and Steve Mercer were the top 10.

In the Supertwin class, Ivan Lintin headed the times from Lee Johnston, Keith Amor, Connor Behan and Michael Sweeney, while James Cowton and Christian Elkin were fastest in the Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight classes respectively.

Ulster Grand Prix Superbike: 1 B Anstey 133.163mph, 2 G Martin 132.801mph, 3 W Dunlop 132.045mph, 4 M Dunlop 131.686mph, 5 L Johnston 131.673mph, 6 D Kneen 131.210mph.