Ulster GP: Dunlop takes pole in close-fought Superbike qualifying

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Michael Dunlop will start Saturday’s two Ulster Grand Prix Superbike races from pole position after topping the timesheets in the week’s first dry superbike session.

After hours of delays due to fog, the Superbikes got out for their session with the circuit in the best conditions so far this week, largely dry with wet patches under the trees.

The Hawk Racing BMW man, who started the session on intermediate tyres before switching to slicks, lapped the Dundrod circuit with an average speed of 131.783mph to beat GBmoto Kawasaki’s Peter Hickman to the top spot.


Dunlop didn’t have it easy in the 40-minute session with the Ulsterman facing stiff competition from Hickman, Bruce Anstey on the screaming Honda RC213V-S and Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson. 

Dean Harrison placed fifth on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki, ahead of Honda Racing’s Conor Cummins and Burrows Suzuki’s Derek Sheils. 

Gary Johnson, deputising for the injured Lee Johnston on the ECC BMW, was eighth with the Yamahas of William Dunlop and Dan Kneen rounding out the top ten. 

Ulster Grand Prix – Superbike Qualifying

  1. Michael Dunlop – Hawk BMW – 131.783mph 
  2. Peter Hickman – Gbmoto Kawasaki – 131.063mph 
  3. Bruce Anstey – Valvoline Padgetts Honda – 130.220mph 
  4. Ian Hutchinson – Tyco BMW – 130.136mph 
  5. Dean Harrison – Silicone Engineering Kawasaki – 129.921mph 
  6. Conor Cummins – Honda Racing – 129.335mph
  7. Derek Sheils – Cooksdown BE Racing – 128.352mph
  8. Gary Johnson – ECC Burdens BMW – 127.873mph
  9. William Dunlop – ICC Racing Yamaha – 127.728
  10. Dan Kneen – Mar-Train Yamaha – 127.699

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing