Tyco Suzuki's Alastair Seeley led the field during the 2012 North West 200 qualifying on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland’s own Alastair Seeley holds provisional pole position for the North West 200 Superbike and Supersport races. The five-time NW200 winner led Honda TT Legends’ John McGuinness in the Superbike class, while fellow Tyco Suzuki by TAS teammate Guy Martin was runner up on the Supersport timesheets. Seeley figures to have a good start in the Superstock race as well, qualifying second on the grid behind fellow Northern Irishman Ryan Farquhar.
Weather threatened the opening of this year’s North West, with a hailstorm and rain showers hitting the road circuit before the opening sessions go underway. The 8.9-mile Triangle, running between Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine, managed to dry out enough for some impressive times, however, including reports of a new top speed record of 208 mph by Ducati pilot Martin Jessop. The fickle weather forecast could spoil Thursday’s final sessions before the official races, on Thursday and Saturday, so Seeley’s provisional pole position will likely hold.
“Yeah I’m pretty happy with that first session,” said Seeley in a Tyco press statment. “You can’t get much better than P1 in both Superbike and Supersport and P2 in Superstock is also pretty good. The game plan wasn’t to give Farquhar a tow to the provisional pole time in the ’stock class though, but its front row starts so far and we can’t complain. The bikes have been faultless and it’s just a matter or re-loading now for Thursday and give it another bash.”
Isle of Man TT
legend McGuinness found the pace for a front-row spot on the grid in all three classes. The Englishman, who is also a five-time NW200 winner, was third-fastest pace in Supersport and Superstock.
“I was a bit nervous heading out after missing the event last year,” admitted McGuinness, “but as soon as I got out there all the years of riding here came flooding back and I really enjoyed it. We’re up there in second and competitive in the Superbike class so it’s been a good day.”
The man ahead of the McGuinness in SS and STK was Martin. Winner of the recent Cookstown 100 Superbike race, Martin looks for his first NW200 victory and said of his Tuesday results: “Yeah that was steady away lad. The Supersport and Superbike are bang on as you can see by the times and we’ll have no bother qualifying the Superstock bike tomorrow. All good. Good start. Yeah I’m happy. The team is working well, we’ve got ourselves dialed into the place pretty quickly and I’m looking forward to racing.”
William Dunlop was the faster of the Dunlop brothers on Tuesday, the Wilson Craig Honda rider third on the Superbike grid and fourth in Supersport. Brother Michael, who races different brands in different classes with McAdoo Racing, was seventh on his Honda Superbike and Suzuki Supersport.
Making his welcome return at the North West from a broken leg is Swan Yamaha’s Ian Hutchinson. The English rider, who swept all five races at the 2010 Isle of Man TT, was sixth-fastest in Superbike and 10th in Supersport. TT regular Conor Cummins was 11th-fastest in Superbike with his Tyco Suzuki road course debut, while a bike issue foiled the Manx rider’s Superstock plans. As for Padgetts Honda rider Gary Johnson, the English rider was 10th fastest in Superbike and fifth in the Supersport session.
2012 North West 200 Superbike Tuesday:
1. Alastair Seeley (Suzuki) 120.689 mph
2. John McGuinness (Honda) 119.253 mph
3. William Dunlop (Honda) 118.433 mph
4. Guy Martin (Suzuki) 117.915 mph
5. Martin Jessop (Ducati) 117.610 mph
6. Ian Hutchinson (Yamaha) 117.564 mph
7. Michael Dunlop (Honda) 117.541 mph
8. Cameron Donald (Honda) 117.249 mph
9. Michael Rutter (Kawasaki) 117.191 mph
10. Gary Johnson (Honda) 116.875 mph
11. Conor Cummins (Suzuki) 116.856 mph
12. Ryan Farquhar (Kawasaki) 116.175 mph
13. James Hillier (Kawasaki) 115.291 mph
14. Adrian Archibald (Kawasaki) 115.171 mph
15. Bruce Anstey (Honda) 115.139 mph
2012 North West 200 Supersport Tuesday:
1. Alastair Seeley (Suzuki) 113.242 mph
2. Guy Martin (Suzuki) 112.866 mph
3. John McGuinness (Honda) 112.405 mph
4. William Dunlop (Honda) 112.165 mph
5. Gary Johnson (Honda) 110.923 mph
6. Stefano Bonetti (Honda) 110.362 mph
7. Michael Dunlop (Suzuki) 109.903 mph
8. Cameron Donald (Honda) 109.705 mph
9. Adrian Archibald (Yamaha) 108.750 mph
10. Ian Hutchinson (Yamaha) 108.445 mph
2012 North West 200 Superstock Tuesday:
1. Ryan Farquhar (Kawasaki) 117.552 mph
2. Alastair Seeley (Suzuki) 117.341 mph
3. John McGuinness (Honda) 116.632 mph
4. Stephen Thompson (BMW) 115.042 mph
5. Bruce Anstey (Honda) 115.037 mph
6. Cameron Donald (Honda) 114.894 mph
7. Gerard Kinghan (BMW) 114.638 mph
8. Lee Johnston (Ducati) 114.552 mph
9. Adrian Archibald (Kawasaki) 114.230 mph
10. James Hillier (Kawasaki) 114.130 mph