2018 North West 200: Seeley adds Supersport pole

Picture: Derek Wilson

Alastair Seeley made it two pole positions in a row at the North West 200 on Thursday afternoon when he took the top spot in the Supersport class. Riding the EHA Racing Yamaha, the Carrickfergus rider was never headed during the session as he dominated proceedings with Martin Jessopp and Dean Harrison joining him on the front row.

With the session getting underway just after 12pm, it was Seeley who was quickest out of the traps with a lap of 116.208mph and that gave him a one second advantage over Jessopp who was again well to the fore on the Riders Motorcycles Triumph with a lap of 115.762mph. Lee Johnston (Padgetts Honda) and Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) were also above the 115mph mark.

Second time around and Seeley upped his pace to 116.658mph increasing the gap over Jessopp to 2.1s, and although both Johnston and Harrison went quicker, they remained in third and fourth. William Dunlop posted another 115mph+ lap to hold onto fifth as Adam McLean (McAdoo Racing Kawasaki) moved up to sixth.

Seeley made a brief pit stop before heading back out on track and on his fifth lap, he lapped at 116.963mph to extend the margin over Jessopp to 2.8s as positions behind remained the same. Jessopp and Johnston held onto their front row positions with Harrison staying in fourth but a late lap from Michael Dunlop hauled him into fifth at the expense of his brother William.

Both Harrison and Dunlop then went quicker on their final lap to slot into third and fourth respectively and that pushed Johnston and William Dunlop back to fifth and sixth. McLean slipped back to seventh with Conor Cummins moving up to eighth late on whilst Michael Sweeney rode excellently to ninth overall ahead of former British 125cc Champion Dan Cooper.

James Cowton, Sam West, Ian Hutchinson, Dan Kneen and Gary Johnson completed the top 15 but James Hillier missed the session after encountering engine problems on Tuesday whilst Peter Hickman was another notable absentee.

Picture: Impact Images
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