Imperious Peter Hickman claims Superbike pole at Ulster Grand Prix with near 135mph lap

Peter Hickman dipped under the lap record to take Superbike pole at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Peter Hickman dipped under the lap record to take Superbike pole at the Ulster Grand Prix.
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Imperious Peter Hickman dipped under the absolute lap record at Dundrod to take pole in the Superbike class with a near 135mph lap at the Ulster Grand Prix.

The Burton-on-Trent man, who also topped the Superstock time sheets, had clear track ahead of him as he fired in a succession of quick laps, setting a blistering benchmark of 134.969mph.

Northern Ireland's Lee Johnston qualified third fastest in the Superstock class on the Ashcourt Racing BMW.

Northern Ireland's Lee Johnston qualified third fastest in the Superstock class on the Ashcourt Racing BMW.

Hickman’s time was unofficially the fastest ever lap around the 7.4-mile course, with the record held by Dean Harrison at 134.614mph, which he established in the 2017 Superbike race.

Bradford man Harrison was second fastest on his Silicone Engineering Kawasaki, 2.4 seconds adrift, while Manx rider Conor Cummins posted the third best time on the Milenco by Padgett’s Honda, a further two seconds in arrears.

Lee Johnston was the top Northern Ireland rider in fourth on the Ashcourt Racing BMW followed by Derek Sheils on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki, while the top six was rounded out by Honda Racing’s David Johnson.

Phil Crowe and Jamie Coward were next ahead of Tyco BMW’s Michael Dunlop, who was 8.8 seconds off Hickman’s sizzling pace.

Dean Harrison was second fastest on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.

Dean Harrison was second fastest on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.

Waterford man Brian McCormack finalised the Superbike top 10.

The opening Superbike race is scheduled to take place following qualifying on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, Hickman qualified on pole for the Superstock race.

The session was red-flagged with around five minutes to go following an incident at Dawson’s Bend, which has caused a delay.

Co Meath's Alan Connor was taken by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and is being treated for minor injuries.

Smiths BMW rider Hickman, who headed the times in Wednesday’s Superbike qualifying session, set the pace with a lap of 130.871mph, which put him 1.8 seconds ahead of Harrison.

Fermanagh’s Johnston was third quickest on his Ashcourt Racing BMW, 2.8 seconds behind Hickman, while Yorkshire’s Jamie Coward slotted into fourth on his Prez Racing Yamaha.

Davey Todd was next on the Wepol/Penz13.com BMW while Ulsterman Paul Jordan was sixth fastest, dropping down the order after crashing out unhurt on the Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki at Leathemstown.

Michael Sweeney (MJR BMW), David Johnson (Honda Racing), Derek Sheils (Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki) and Shaun Anderson (NW BMW) rounded out the top ten.

Cummins was un unfamiliar 14th on the Milenco by Padgett’s Honda while injury-hit Dunlop was a lowly 29th on the MD Racing BMW.

Hickman also had the upper hand in the Supersport session as he completed a clean sweep of the classes he is competing in at Dundrod.

The Supersport TT winner held off Lee Johnston by 0.7 seconds for pole on his Trooper Beer Smiths Triumph, with Dean Harrison in third on his Silicone Kawasaki, 3.3 seconds down. Hickman stopped at the foot of the Deer’s Leap with around 10 minutes of the session to go but retained his position at the top of the times.

Davey Todd was 0.6 seconds behind Harrison in fourth with his Milenco by Padgett’s Honda team-mate Conor Cummins around one second further back in fifth,

Jamie Coward was sixth fastest on the Prez Racing Yamaha ahead of Paul Jordan on the Dafabet Devitt Racing Yamaha.

In the Ultra-Lightweight session, Czech racer Michal Dokoupil sealed pole on his Moto3 Ariane machine by 0.7 seconds from Christian Elkin (Wylie Honda), with Gary Dunlop third on the Joey’s Bar Honda. Dunlop, though, was forced out half-way through the session.

Neil Kernohan recorded the fastest time for pole in the Lightweight class on the 250 Logan Honda by 1.8 seconds from Davey Morgan (DM71 Honda 250). Gareth Keys was third on his 250 Yamaha.