NW200: Mixed opening races for Rutter

Published: 12 May 2017

Michael Rutter has said he knows he’ll need to up the ante if he’s to compete for the win in tomorrow’s Vauxhall North West 200 Superbike races despite starting from pole position.

The 13-time North West winner took pole for the two races with his time in the red flagged second Superbike session, but believes he’ll need to go even quicker if he’s to fight with the likes of Alastair Seeley, Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop for victory.

“Obviously, it was great to take pole position for the Superbike races although we know we'll need to go quicker in the races themselves,” he said. I'm happy with the performance of the bike and we're in good shape for Saturday's races."

The veteran racer will be hoping for a stronger showing on Saturday after being forced to retire from a healthy lead in Thursday’s Superstock race after a stone hole in his radiator caused his engine to overheat.

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“I’m naturally disappointed with the outcome in the Superstock race,” he continued. “The bike's been flying all year and we've had no issues but a stone went through the radiator, which caused the engine to overheat and ultimately stop. It was a big disappointment for the whole team as everything was going well up until then.”

However, Rutter did celebrate podium joy in the Supertwins category, narrowly missing out on victory to Martin Jessopp on the final lap.

"I tried everything I could during the Supertwin race, tucking in as much as possible and even putting my arm behind my back to help the aerodynamics but I was just lacking a bit of top speed. I think Martin had the race under control and maybe eased off a fraction too much so when he saw me coming, he was able to up his pace so well done for him for taking two wins in a day. It would have been nice to win but Ryan gave me a great bike and to lap at more than 110mph is no mean feat so we'll try again on Saturday."

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