NW200: Honda Racing's Lee Johnston clocks fastest Superbike lap on opening day

Lee Johnston kicks up a cloud of dust and stones on the exit of the start and finish chicane on the Honda Racing Fireblade.
Lee Johnston kicks up a cloud of dust and stones on the exit of the start and finish chicane on the Honda Racing Fireblade.

Honda Racing’s Lee Johnston set the fastest lap on Tuesday at the North West 200 before the Superbike practice session was red-flagged.

A rider was airlifted to hospital in Belfast following a crash at University Corner. Event Director Mervyn Whyte said he had sustained ‘some injuries’ but not further information was provided. A second rider was also involved in the incident.

Michael Dunlop made a strong start during the first day of practice at the North West 200 on the Tyco BMW.

Michael Dunlop made a strong start during the first day of practice at the North West 200 on the Tyco BMW.

Before the session was halted, Fermanagh man Johnston lapped at 116.701mph on the Fireblade SP2 as he set the quickest speed of the day ahead of Tyco BMW’s Michael Dunlop, who clocked a lap at 115.577mph.

Yorkshire rider James Cowton was third fastest on the McAdoo Kawasaki at 113.622mph ahead of Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati (113.452mph).

James Hillier (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and Conor Cummins on the Padgett’s Honda were the top six ahead of William Dunlop (Temple Golf Club Yamaha) and Derek McGee on the CITP Kawasaki.

Ian Hutchinson was 12th fastest on the Honda Racing Fireblade as he makes his return to road racing from injury.

In the Supertwins class, Derek McGee maintained his excellent form as he headed the times with a speed of 107.303mph on Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki.

Martin Jessopp, a winner last year in the first Supertwins race, was second (106.376mph) with Adam McLean in third at 106.149mph on the Hanna Kawasaki.

Joey Thompson (ILR Paton), McAdoo Racing’s James Cowton and Christian Elkin were the first six.