NW200: Alastair Seeley completes sizzling pole treble

Alastair Seeley topped the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport times in final qualifying at the North West 200
Alastair Seeley topped the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport times in final qualifying at the North West 200

Alastair Seeley was in a class of his own once more as the Tyco BMW rider completed a clean sweep of Thursday’s final qualifying times in the feature classes at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

Seeley followed up his pole feat in Superstock qualifying by topping the time sheets in the Supersport and Superbike sessions to head into Thursday evening’s race programme as the standout favourite.

The 35-year-old British championship star lapped at 121.552mph in the Superbike class to post the fastest lap of the week as he headed Lee Johnston on the ECC/Burdens BMW by 2.479s, with third going to Honda Racing’s John McGuinness (120.001mph).

The second row of the grid is headed up by evergreen New Zealand rider Bruce Anstey, who set his best lap of 119.678mph as he finished 4.1 seconds behind pacesetter Seeley.

Tyco BMW’s William Dunlop was fifth, despite feeling the after-effects of a heavy high-side in the Supersport session after he came off at York hairpin, with 13-times winner Michael Rutter in sixth place on the Penz13.com BMW after a lap of 119.061mph.

Michael Dunlop was seventh on his Milwaukee Yamaha R1 (119.053mph) followed by Dean Harrison on the Mar-Train Yamaha and Isle of Man rider Conor Cummins (Honda Racing), with Yeovil’s Martin Jessopp rounding out the top ten on the Riders Motorcycles BMW.

In the Supersport session, William Dunlop had been the early leader until his crash at York on the CD/IC Racing Yamaha, bringing out the red flags.

The Ballymoney man opted to sit out the re-start and it was Seeley who took over on the Tyco Suzuki with a lap of 116.362mph to lead Bruce Anstey by 0.6 seconds, with Dunlop’s time good enough to secure third.

Newcomer Glenn Irwin was a sensational fourth fastest on the Gearlink Kawasaki and 2.4 seconds behind Seeley, while Morecambe’s McGuinness (Jackson Racing Honda) and Gary Johnson on the Mar-Train Yamaha R6 were the first six.

Michael Dunlop was next up on his MD Racing Yamaha in seventh, 4.1 seconds off Seeley’s best lap, with Rutter (Gearlink Kawasaki), Harrison (Mar-Train Yamaha) and Keith Amor on the Rig Deluge Honda the top ten.