Hickman, who is in a rich vein of form after a stunning run of five podiums at the Isle of Man TT and a victory in Sunday’s second British Superbike race at Thruxton, claimed the top spot by 1.059s from Bruce Anstey with a lap of 131.757mph.
In sunny but breezy conditions, former outright lap record holder Anstey was also over the 131mph mark on the Padgetts Honda RC213V-S, clocking 131.071mph as he finished 0.8s ahead of team-mate Conor Cummins (130.508mph).
William Dunlop slotted into fourth place on the Temple Golf Club Yamaha with a lap of 129.248mph and was also fastest through the speed trap at 192.4mph.
Derek Sheils was next on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki (128.336mph) with the top six completed by Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki (128.177mph), who was 5.6s off Hickman’s pole time. Dunlop won the Dundrod 150 Superbike race in 2016.
Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki), Dan Kneen – riding the Tyco BMW on the roads for the first time – and Jamie Coward (Radcliffe’s BMW), were the top nine, with Aussie Dave Johnson in 10th.
Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston, making his comeback after a crash at the TT during practice, was 11th fastest on the East Coast BMW.