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|05-13-2015, 02:12 AM||#1|
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Seeley dominates first NW200 practice
Strong winds and heavy rain on the first day of the North West 200
Alastair Seeley.Photo: northwest200.org
ALASTAIR Seeley has dominated the first practice session at this year’s North West 200 in Northern Ireland by topping the leader board in the Supersport, Superstock and Superbike sessions.
The Northern Irish racer is chasing the late Robert Dunlop’s all-time record victory tally of three wins this year.
“A good start to the week for us, and all the bikes are working well,” explained the 12 times North West winner.
“The conditions were good the whole way around for the last session, and I was just chipping away – I managed to come in, make some changes and get a few more laps done at the end. It was hard to get a clear lap with all the traffic but I was able to get a clear road and pull some seconds out of times.”
Although conditions started out dry for the Newcomers lap, strong winds remained an issue and heavy rain hampered the Supersport and Superbike sessions in particular causing many riders to end their session early, as ‘conditions were sketchy’.
Gary Johnson was second fastest on the GBMoto ZX10R Kawasaki in the Superbike class and Lee Johnston was third on the ECR/Burdens BMW.
“I kept getting held up in traffic especially going into the chicanes.” Johnson explained after his first run out on the Kawasaki. “But everything was going well and I am happy.”
Lee Johnston was also happy despite the miserable conditions: “It wasn’t really a day for eating ice cream. I am happy considering they are all new bikes this year. We are third and I want to be first but I am really looking forward to Thursday now.”
Martrain’s Dean Harrison finished fastest on the R1 Yamaha with Milwaukee’s Michael Dunlop finishing eighth overall.
Ian Hutchinson is back at the North West 200 once again and finished fifth fastest on the PBM Kawasaki whilst John McGuiness was the fastest Honda in sixth spot.
Dunlop brothers, Michael and William were second and third behind Seeley in the Supersport rankings and Michael Dunlop was again second to Seeley in the Superstock class on the MD Racing R1. Dean Harrison was third fastest on another R1 and NW200 Superstock lap record holder Horst Saiger slotted into fourth.
James Hillier topped the timesheets in the Supertwins class on the Quattro Plant ER6 Kawasaki and said: “I am really pleased because I haven’t even tested the little bike since last year’s TT.”
Ryan Farquhar, who is no longer in retirement, finished second on his SGS/KMR ER6 whilst Jamie Hamilton was third fastest with Michael Dunlop in fourth on the McAdoo ER6. Unfortunately, Jeremy McWilliams is yet to qualify on the second SGS/KMR bike.
North West newcomer Glenn Irwin has set his sights high for his first year around the Triangle, but finished fifth in the Supersport class on the Gear Link ZXR6RR Kawasaki. “It’s so fast – even more than I expected – and the chicanes just come up on you!” the British Supersport championship frontrunner explained.
“I wouldn’t read into any of the day’s lap times though – I haven’t rode the six hundred in the dry yet! Hopefully Thursday will be dry, because I need the time on the bike in those conditions, but it’s been a good day nonetheless. I’m learning the track and I’m enjoying it.”
Regarding the weather, good news is that yesterday should be the only rain of the week as fine weather is being forecast from now until the weekend.
There will be another practice session on Thursday 14th May with roads set to close at 9:15am – 2:45pm before the first Supersport, Supertwin and Superstock races get underway with roads closing at 5:15pm – 9pm.
Saturday 16th May is the main race day for the North West 200. Roads close at 9:30am until 7pm for 5 races to take place: Supersport, Superbike, Supertwin, Superstock and the main Vauxhall NW200 Superbike race.
Thursday’s North West 200 race results
Saturday's NW200 race results
Guy Martin: 'Tyco BMW goes like you know what off a shovel'
William Dunlop joins Guy Martin at Tyco Suzuki
Guy Martin takes Superbike double win at Cookstown
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