Tyco BMW rider Alastair Seeley has topped the time sheets in both wet and dry conditions on the opening day of practice for the North West 200. The local rider, who is bidding to become the most successful rider ever at the event, was fastest in superbike, superstock and supersport sessions.
Starting the day dry on his first run out on the Northern Irish team’s Suzuki GSX-R600, he finished the session ahead of the Yamaha-mounted Dunlop duo of Michael and William, with Gary Johnson, newcomer Glenn Irwin and Dean Harrison completing the second row.
However, heavy rain for the superbike session meant an interrupted session for many of the front-runners – but Seeley was still able to capitalise early on to finish ahead of Gary Johnson and Lee Johnston.
“The conditions were bad towards the end of the superbike session – I pulled in early because the conditions were getting sketchy. You could see the track was like sheet ice, and I didn’t want to push through it – I felt I had done enough, got my qualifying laps in.
“The biggest issue at the minute is traffic though – we’re struggling to get some clear track to do a fast lap. There was a couple of laps where I came across slower riders at the wrong place – Church Corner, up across the Coast Road – and it just pulls seconds out of your lap time.”
With conditions drying out for the final session of the day again, he was able to make it a hat trick he’ll be looking to repeat come Saturday, finishing ahead of the Yamaha pair of Michael Dunlop and Dean Harrison – and cutting twenty seconds off his superbike session time.
In the supertwin class, the only one not to be topped by the diminutive Northern Irishman, it was the Quattro Plant Kawasaki of James Hillier topping the sheets, ahead of local hero Ryan Farquhar and his former protégé Jamie Hamilton.