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Rutter, Seeley share NW200 poles

Michael Rutter takes pole position for the 2011 North West 200 Superbike race, while Alastair Seeley scores the top spot in the Supersport and Superstock classes.
Michael Rutter has taken pole position for the 2011 North West 200 Superbike race after capitalising on Alastair Seeley's mechanical problems.

The 28-time British Superbike race winner led a Bathams-Rapid Ducati 1-2 in the Superbike classes after lapping the Northern Ireland course in a 4mins 26.336secs (121.24mph) time. It was enough to edge out his team-mate Martin Jessopp by a mere six tenths of a second around the 8.970 mile course.

Last year's winner Seeley had been favourite to secure pole position for the 'blue riband' race having comfortably sealed the top spot in both the Superstock and Supersport classes, but mechanical problems on his Relentless by TAS Suzuki meant his Q1 time stood, leaving him seventh on the grid.

Ahead of him, Street Sweep Kawasaki's Michael Dunlop qualified in third position, ahead of Seeley's Relentless team-mate Guy Martin, Wilson Craig Honda's Cameron Donald and East Coast Honda's Gary Johnson.

Despite his Superbike set-back, Seeley is still well placed to score at least two race wins on the NW200 after claiming Superstock pole, ahead of Dunlop and Rutter, before repeating the feat in the Supersport class, ahead of Johnson and Dunlop.

The day's activities were marred, however, by a serious accident involving British Superbike frontrunners and MSS Colchester Kawasaki team-mates Stuart Easton and Gary Mason, who collided during Superstock qualifying.

Easton, currently third in the BSB standings, has since been confirmed with a broken pelvis, but Mason – who took his first BSB podium just days ago at Croft – was unhurt.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Rutter - Rapid-Bathams Ducati [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael Rutter - Rapid Bathams Ducati [pic credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Michael Rutter - Rapid Bathams Ducati [pic credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Michael Rutter - Rapid Bathams Ducati [pic credit: Ian Hopgood Photography]
Conor Cummins has joined the Padgetts Racing Honda team for 2017.
Lee Johnston has teamed up with Ryan Farquhar to race a KMR Kawasaki in the NI Air Ambulance colours at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Alastair Seeley with the Tyco BMW he will race at the North West 200.
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Michael Dunlop, Carl Cox, [Credit: Holeshot PR]
Michael Dunlop has signed for Bennets Suzuki for the 2017 international road races.
Michael Dunlop has signed for the Bennett Suzuki team for 2017.
Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Guy Martin, Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.
Michael Rutter on the Bathams/SMT BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.
Martin Jessopp on the Riders Motorcycles BMW at the Macau Grand Prix.
Michael Rutter and John McGuinness during the pre-event press conference ahead of the 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.

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st ninians - Unregistered

May 19, 2011 6:58 PM

Mike looked really smooth out there today and is really up for the win come Saturday,he is a 1st class rider in all departments and Martin being the number 2 behind Mike will undoubtedly make for class racing especially with Alastair wanting the win. Guy wont be any slouch either as messers Dunlops want a big win,if anything this weekend will be the best racing at the NW200 in many a year. Bad luck for Stuart and Gary and i hope Stuart heals quickly,he certainly didnt deserve this as didnt Gary

kyle - Unregistered

May 20, 2011 7:50 AM

Its a pity plater, mcguinness, amor, hutchy not being there. I hope the weather improves for tomorrow very sorry to here about gary and stuart wishing all other competitors a safe days racing

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