Michael Rutter says his Bathams SMT BMW Superstock machine ‘is on rails’ as the 13-time winner weighs up his prospects for Saturday’s four ‘big bike’ races at the North West 200.
The 44-year-old qualified in second place on the front row for the Superstock class and went third quickest on his Superbike to throw his hat into the victory mix.
Rutter, who claimed his last win in the Superstock race in 2012, said: “The Superstock bike is on rails and it’s really good. Obviously, having ridden it in the British Championship has helped and whilst it was a shame Thursday evening’s race didn’t take place, we’ve got two bites of the cherry now on Saturday.
“We had a lot of work to do with the Superbike as it hadn’t turned a wheel before we got here so I was a little bit surprised to end up on the front row,” he added.
“There’s still work we can do to improve it and make it feel like the Superstock bike.”
Rutter finished ninth in Thursday’s Supersport race on his Kawasaki and said afterwards that he is short on top speed.
“We’re a little bit down on power compared to the other bikes and I was a little bit disappointed with ninth,” he said.
“John [McGuinness] and I were running at a similar pace and we couldn’t quite keep up with the leading pack but it was good to get the first race under our belts.
“I’m now looking forward to Saturday’s racing and every race is going to be hard fought.”