Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin was straight on the pace as last year’s treble hero topped the Superbike times at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix on Wednesday.
Martin will start Thursday’s Plant Lubrication NI Dundrod 150 Superbike race from pole position after setting the fastest lap at 130.158mph to finish 0.152 seconds ahead of Bruce Anstey on the Valvoline Padgetts Honda, who lapped at 130.062mph.
William Dunlop on the second of the Tyco Suzuki machines completes the front row after setting a best lap of 129.589mph, with younger brother Michael fourth on the BMW Motorrad S1000RR (129.537mph).
In the first Superbike qualifying session for Saturday’s Ulster Grand Prix proper, Kirmington rider Martin upped the pace further with the fastest time of the day on the GSX-R1000 at 131.753mph to take provisional pole ahead of Michael Dunlop, who was 0.769s in arrears with a speed of 131.254mph.
Anstey (131.112mph), William Dunlop (130.55mph) and Lee Johnston on the Pirtek Honda (130.307mph) were next, with Milwaukee Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson completing the top six at 129.829mph, three seconds down on Martin.
Newcomer Peter Hickman impressed on the Ice Valley BMW Superstock machine as the Louth rider clocked the seventh fastest Superbike time at 129.248mph.
Hickman, who is on course to become the fastest ever Ulster GP rookie, finished a stunning second fastest in the Superstock class courtesy of that 129mph lap, only 0.147s down on pacesetter Michael Dunlop, who lapped at 129.340mph on his MD Racing BMW.
British Superbike rider Hickman will start the Dundrod 150 National and Challenge races on pole position.
Anstey (128.715mph) and Martin (128.708mph) were next on the Superstock time sheets, with Stephen Thompson on the Bathams BMW (128.130mph) and Johnston (127.474mph) the first six.
William Dunlop, who has three victories in the Supersport class on his record at the Ulster GP, led the way on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 at 126.578mph to squeeze out Michael on the MD Racing Honda by a mere 0.015s.
Anstey (126.375mph), Johnston (126.253mph) and Dean Harrison on the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha (125.743mph) were next.
Derek McGee, Scotsman Keith Amor, Dan Kneen, Martin and Hutchinson rounded out the top 10.
In the Supertwins class, Amor had the upper hand on the KMR SGS International Kawasaki with a speed of 116.340mph, which put him 0.648s ahead of Ivan Lintin.
British Supersport star and circuit newcomer Glenn Irwin was a fantastic third on the VRS Racing Kawasaki, lapping at 115.682mph to finish ahead of double North West 200 winner Lee Johnston (114.936mph) and Michael Dunlop (114.704mph).
Christian Elkin was quickest in the Ultra-Lightweight class with Neil Kernohan heading up the Lightweight 250GP times.
Ulster Grand Prix Superbike: 1 G Martin 131.75mph; 2 M Dunlop 131.25; 3 B Anstey 131.11; 4 W Dunlop 130.55; 5 L Johnston 130.30; 6 I Hutchinson 129.83.
Dundrod 150 Superbike: 1 G Martin 130.158mph; 2 B Anstey 130.062; 3 W Dunlop 129.59; 4 M Dunlop 129.54; 5 L Johnston 128.086; 6 S Thompson 127.61.
Superstock: 1 M Dunlop 129.34mph; 2 P Hickman 129.24; 3 B Anstey 128.71; 4 G Martin 128.70; 5 S Thompson 128.13; 6 L Johnston 127.47.
Supersport: 1 W Dunlop 126.57mph; 2 M Dunlop 126.56; 3 B Anstey 126.37; 4 L Johnston 126.25; 5 D Harrison 125.74; 6 D McGee 125.46.
Supertwins: 1 K Amor 116.34mph; 2 I Lintin 116.01; 3 G Irwin 115.68; 4 L Johnston 114.93; 5 M Dunlop 114.70; 6 D Cooper 114.59.