Michael Dunlop snatches Supersport pole at Armoy Road Races
Michael Dunlop claimed provisional pole in the Supersport class following a disrupted practice session at the Armoy Road Races on Friday.
The Co Antrim meeting is the opening Irish national road race of the season and the first to take place since last September’s Cookstown 100.
Some rain showers in the morning resulted in damp patches around the three-mile course, but it remained predominantly dry and cool.
Dunlop posted the quickest time on his Yamaha R6 after the session was restarted twice following red-flag incidents. Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan caused the first stoppage when he came off the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Yamaha at Acheson’s Leap, but was later reported to be up and walking following the incident.
A second rider also crashed at Acheson’s Leap in the first restart, but was reported to be unhurt.
The Supersport session was eventually run over three laps, with Dunlop knocking Mullingar’s Derek McGee (B&W Racing/Diamond Edge Kawasaki) off the top spot on his final lap to seal pole by 0.133s, with a speed of 101.561mph.
Tobermore’s Adam McLean was next on the McAdoo Kawasaki, 1.2s down on Dunlop, with Mike Browne fifth ahead of team-mate Jordan.
Davey Todd, back at Armoy for the first time since 2018, was sixth on the Wilson Craig Honda.
The first Supersport 600 race is scheduled to take place on Friday evening following the conclusion of practice.
Dunlop, who has won the feature ‘Race of Legends’ eight times in a row, earlier led the way in a free practice session for the Open class on the SYNETIQ BMW. The Ballymoney man was just 0.091s ahead of McGee (CITP Kawasaki) in the untimed session.
Dunlop is competing at a road race for the first time since the Classic TT in 2019.
He was also fastest in the Lightweight Supersport/250 class, making a rare appearance on a Honda RS250.
Dunlop was 3.1s ahead of McGee, who is riding the Faraldo Racing 450.
In the Supertwin session, McGee left it late to clinch pole on the KMR Kawasaki by 1.129s from McLean (McAdoo Kawasaki), with Joseph Loughlin third ahead of Sweeney and Neil Kernohan.