ULSTER GP: Dominant Hickman tops 132mph on day one
Peter Hickman capped a dominant day at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix with a blistering lap at 132.453mph to top the charts at Dundrod.
The Smiths BMW rider earlier claimed pole for Thursday’s Dundrod 150 Superbike race by one second from Bruce Anstey (Padgetts Honda RC213V-S) with a lap of 131.757mph.
However, the British Superbike title contender upped the ante in the combined UGP Superstock and Superbike practice session, setting a scorching pace on his Superstock machine at 131.771mph to take the top spot, before completing the session with the day’s only lap in excess of 132mph on his S1000RR Superbike.
The in-form 30-year-old also led the way in the Supersport class on the Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph, edging out Anstey by 0.084s to lead the time sheets with a lap at 126.086mph.
Hickman, who clinched his maiden international victory in the second Superbike race at Dundrod two years ago, has really thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals heading into the final day of qualifying.
In the UGP Superbike session, he was 1.1s ahead of Flying Kiwi Anstey, with Manxman Conor Cummins – riding the Padgetts Fireblade – impressing in third, only two tenths back on Anstey after lapping at 131.585mph.Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop, who is riding with the number one plate on the Bennetts Suzuki, improved significantly from the Dundrod 150 qualifying session to go fourth fastest at 131.472mph, leaving the 28-year-old 1.5s down on provisional pole man Hickman.
Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki), Dan Kneen on the Tyco BMW and William Dunlop (Temple GC Yamaha) completed the top seven, all lapping in excess of 130mph.
Derek Sheils also topped 130mph on John Burrows’ Suzuki in eighth place, while Mullingar man Derek McGee and the returning Lee Johnston rounded out the first ten.
In the Supersport session, Bradford rider Harrison was third fastest behind Hickman and Anstey, with William Dunlop in fourth on the IC Racing Yamaha. McGee and Lee Johnston were next as the first six were covered by two seconds.
Michael Dunlop was seventh on his Yamaha, only two tenths back on Johnston.
Final qualifying and the Charles Hurst Motorcycles Dundrod 150 meeting takes place on Thursday, with roads closed from 10am to 9.30pm.