Alastair Seeley made the perfect start to this year’s International North West 200 putting his Tyco BMW Motorrad machinery on provisional pole spots in both the Superbike and Superstock classes.
Today’s opening practice and qualifying session at the 8.9-mile road circuit was met with inclement weather conditions, leaving the 12-time winner to dig deep and use all his experience to top both sessions.
His team-mates William Dunlop and Guy Martin took ninth and tenth in the Superbike class and fifth and seventh respectively in the Superstock class, which offered up the best on-track conditions during the day. All three men are now qualified in the aforementioned classes and will be looking to improve their times in Thursday morning’s session prior to the evening Superstock race over six laps [scheduled 8pm start].
Alastair Seeley said:“There was a lot of traffic out there today, but both BMW Motorrad machines worked very well on track and helped me top the timesheets. We will look over the data between now and Thursday with a fine-tooth comb, but we are going in the right direction and taking the conditions into consideration, I think the whole team did a great job today.”
William Dunlop said: “Those conditions are exactly what you don’t want on day one at the North West 200, but we got through the day and will look forward to what looks like a dry session on Thursday when today’s times will probably count for nothing. It already looks like Alastair will be the man to beat but we’ll be doing our best to be up there on the front row with him and fighting for the wins.”
Guy Martin said:“It’s a tough way to start the roads season in those conditions, so I just kept it smooth and used the track time to gain as much information as we could get. Alastair did a mint job for the team, but dry track time on Thursday is what I’m looking for and the aim is to be in around the sharp end for sure.”
Philip Neill, Team Manager, said: “It doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome of race day, but it is always nice to get off to a good start at the North West 200. Today brought some varied weather conditions which no doubt had an impact on the mixed results from some of the other favourites; however come race day I’m sure the usual runners will be battling for the podium positions.
“Today went perfectly for Alastair showing the potential of the Tyco BMW Motorrad S1000RR machinery in both wet and dry conditions, and although William and Guy are a little further down the grid – there are no major problems to report at this stage and I’m sure they will both be in the running come race day.”
Superbike Qualifying [wet]:
PP – Alastair Seeley [Tyco BMW] 4min 53.639sec; 2nd – Gary Johnson [Kawasaki] +3.737sec; 3rd – Lee Johnston [BMW] +5.654; 4th – Dean Harrison [Yamaha] +7.507sec; 5th – Ian Hutchinson [Kawasaki] +8.018sec; 6th – John McGuinness [Honda] +8.410sec; 9th – William Dunlop [Tyco BMW] +11.025sec; 10th – Guy Martin [Tyco BMW] +11.802sec
Superstock Qualifying [Drying Track]:
PP – Alastair Seeley [Tyco BMW] 4min 32.953sec; 2nd – Michael Dunlop [Yamaha] +4.281sec; 3rd – Dean Harrison [Yamaha] +5.708sec; 4th – Horst Saiger [Kawasaki] +8.067sec; 5th – William Dunlop [BMW] +9.585sec; 6th – Michael Rutter [BMW] +9.890; 7th – Guy Martin [Tyco BMW] +9.899sec
Thursday Qualifying & Race Schedule
Thursday Qualifying – Roads close 9.15am through to 2.45pm
Thursday Night Racing – Roads close 5.15pm through to 9pm: Tyco BMW will be involved in Race 3 – Superstock [6 laps] scheduled for an 8pm start