NW200 Supertwins: Johnston goes pole ahead of opening races

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Lee Johnston has secured pole position for the Supertwins races at the Vauxhall North West 200, taking his East Coast Construction Kawasaki ER-6 bike to the top spot with the first sub-5 minute lap ever seen on the 650cc machines around the Triangle circuit.

The diminutive Johnston, who scored his first podium finish last year in the superstock class at the event, says he’s confident that he’ll be able to repeat the feat when racing gets underway later this evening.

“It’s the class that I probably should be going best in, because I’m not that big and it suits me well. The guys have made some big changes to the bike, because after the first time I rode it I have to admit I really hated it. We’ve changed quite a lot since then, and I ‘m really enjoying it now!”

Keith Amor was second, taking the KMR Kawasaki machine that has brought him out of retirement to the front row, albeit some 1.387 seconds behind Johnston. Ivan Linton will complete the front row on the McKinstry Racing Kawasaki.

Michael Dunlop heads the second row, making good progress in the session after being forced to sit out Tuesday night’s with a Power Commander problem, with James Cowton and former GP winner Jeremy McWilliams completing the row.

Ryan Farquhar, on his home built KMR bike, will lead off the third row, ahead of BSB racer Martin Jessop, making his twins debut, and Conor Behan, on another of the KMR machines. Dean Harrison completes the top ten, while TT winner James Hillier and former KMR rider Jamie Hamilton complete row number four in eleventh and twelfth.

The first supertwins race of the weekend kicks off tonight, with the four lap race scheduled in the middle of a three lap program kicking off from 6pm. You can watch all the action live on the BBC Northern Ireland website by clicking here.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer