Beautiful conditions greeted competitors for the North West 200 Road Races on Thursday with Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles Kawasaki) claiming pole position for the Supertwins class, the first session of the day.
Getting underway at 10am, it was Jessopp who set the early pace, his lap of 4m58.807s just over half a second clear of Adam McLean (Roy Hanna Motors Kawasaki), the duo the first two riders to lap under five minutes. Derek McGee was a further 1.5s adrift in third.
McLean responded on his fourth lap to edge ahead of Jessopp by a tenth of a second as McGee (IEG/KMR Kawasaki) maintained his third place with Joey Thompson moving up to fourth on the Paton.
Fifth time around and McLean went quicker still, a lap of 4m57.219s giving him a 1.5s advantage over Jessopp and another rider going quicker was James Cowton, the McAdoo Kawasaki rider taking over third place and also dipping below the five minute barrier.
McLean continued to get quicker with his sixth lap being 4m56.574s but Jessopp responded and he closed to within 0.272s of the Northern Irishman. And next time around the Yeovil rider, winner twelve months ago, seized the top spot by the slender margin of 0.038s.
McLean and Cowton had to settle for second and third with just 1.1s covering the front row and it was Thompson who ended up fourth as KMR Kawasaki team-mates McGee and Jeremy McWilliams took fifth and sixth.
Christian Elkin, Xavier Denis, Michael Sweeney and Darren Cooper completed the top ten.