Seeley fastest in NW200 qualifying

By Gary Pinchin -

TT & road races

 15 May 2012 17:58

Alastair Seeley topped Superbike and Supersport qualifying on his Tyco TAS Suzuki on the first day of qualifying for the 2012 Relentless International North West 200.

The ‘Wee Wizard’ was also second quickest to Ryan Farquhar in a Superstock qualifying cut short by heavy rain and Seeley said: “I’ve done my homework. We’ve got some small changes to make to the bikes but today has been a good start.”

Getting good times in today was paramount with the threat of Thursday’s qualifying likely to be disrupted by bad weather – if the forecasts can be believed.

It was a great first session for the Tyco TAS Suzuki team with Seeley topping Supersport with a lap of 4:45.16, 0.949s quicker than his team-mate Guy Martin.

Third overall was John McGuinness on the Padgetts Honda from William Dunlop, Gary Johnson and Italian Stefano Bonetti.

After his shakedown run out on the Swan Yamahas at Mallory last Wednesday, Ian Hutchinson posted the 10th quickest time on his new R6.

Superbikes were next up and McGuinness was holding pole position right until the final lap when Seeley posted a 4:27.58s, 120.689mph lap to go 3.22s quicker than the Honda man. William Dunlop was third quickest on the Wilson Craig Honda from Martin.

World Supersport contender Martin Jessopp was back on his 2011 BSB Ducati and poste fifth quickest time, and a staggering 208mph through the speed trap.
Admittedly he was aided by a tail win but he posted speeds of 208 twice, 207, 206 and 205. 

Hutchinson was the only other rider to be clocked over 200mph in the session. Hutchy as also sixth over on lap times, just ahead of Michael Dunlop, with Cameron Donald, Michael Rutter and Johnson completing the top ten. Third member of the Tyco Suzuki team, Conor Cummins, was 11th.

Adrian Archibald topped the first session for the all new Supertwins class from Rutter, James Hillier, Farquhar and Jamie Hamilton. NW200 rookie Jeremy McWilliams was ninth quickest. Hamilton’s KMR Kawasaki was the fastest bike through the speed trap at 153mph.

Farquhar was the fastest in Superstock class, 0.49s quicker than Seeley. McGuinness was again impressive in third from local rider Stephen Thompson, Bruce Anstey and Donald.

Because of the quickly deteriorating weather conditions, several top riders failed to set qualifying times, including both Dunlop brothers, Hutchinson, Martin, Rutter, Jessop and Cummins. They will be hoping for better conditions on Thursday.