2018 North West 200: Seeley takes Superstock pole

Picture: Derek Wilson

Alastair Seeley claimed pole position for Thursday evening’s Superstock race at the North West 200 with a lap of 121.371mph putting him two seconds clear of Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki). Michael Dunlop completed the front row on his MD Racing BMW as the perfect conditions continued.

First time around and it was Peter Hickman who was quickest at 119.196mph closely followed by James Hillier (119.054) and Michael Rutter (119.007) but a lap later Seeley went to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 119.967mph. That put him 0.4s clear of Tyco BMW team-mate Dan Kneen who was also climbing up the time sheets. Rutter also went quicker at 119.460mph to maintain third.

The top two positions remained the same after the fourth lap but Harrison moved up to third as just two seconds covered the leading six riders - Seeley, Kneen, Harrison, Rutter, Hickman and Hillier. The Honda men were down the order though with Lee Johnston 13th, Conor Cummins 17th and Ian Hutchinson 30th.

With twenty five of the 45-minute session gone, many of the top runners came into pit lane to make adjustments and it wasn’t until the closing stages that there was a flurry of action on the leaderboard.

Rutter was the first to make his move and his lap of 120.022mph was the first 120mph+ lap of the week as he went 0.123s clear of Seeley. He didn’t stay there long though as Seeley responded with a lap of 121.371mph and Dunlop did the same, a speed of 120.062mph putting him second but over two seconds behind the flying Seeley.

Harrison squeezed into second near the end of the session after lapping at 120.430mph as Rutter, Kneen and Hickman rounded out the second row, the latter failing to improve on his opening flying lap.

Hillier, Martin Jessopp, Gary Johnson and an improving Johnston completed the top ten with Hutchinson ending up 25th.

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