British Superbike veteran and thirteen time North West 200 race winner Michael Rutter has put his Bathams Ale BMW on provisional pole for the superbike races at this weekend’s event, out-qulifying local star Alastair Seeley by a second and a half.
Bathed in beautiful sunshine, Rutter was able to complete eight laps of the nine mile circuit in the 45 minute long session to take the lead with a 4:26.643 lap and averaging over 121mph, despite running a stock motor in his S1000RR.
“The bike’s going really good! It’s not been so bad for us, because we’ve been able to come straight from Oulton Park BSB and not have to touch a thing for here on it. We were a little worried about the speed, but it seemed as quick as anything else out there - at least anything I saw. It’s only a standard engine - it hasn’t even been out of the frame yet!”
Seeley was a further 0.7 ahead of Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin to complete the front row, while his teammate William Dunlop headed a second row of BSB stars Martin Jessop and Josh Brookes. Bruce Anstey was seventh, with Michael Dunlop eighth on his first run on the factory BMW at an international road race.
TT legend John McGuinness was eleventh on the Honda Racing Fireblade, admitting afterwards that he was still returning to full pace after a broken scaphoid only weeks ago.