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'Rain master' Rutter in no mood for a rain dance

2011 North West 200 Superbike class pole-sitter Michael Rutter might be acknowledged as something of a wet-weather maestro on two wheels, but he concedes that even he will not be performing a rain dance ahead of Saturday's race...
He might have a reputation inside the paddock as being something of a 'rain master', but pole-sitter Michael Rutter has confessed that he has his fingers crossed for a dry race when the 2011 North West 200 revs into life on Saturday.

Lapping at an average speed of just over 121mph around the 8.97-mile circuit, Rutter led Riders Bathams Ducati team-mate Martin Jessopp to a one-two in the delayed, wind-battered Superbike class qualifying session on Thursday, the pair separated by just under six tenths of a second after having placed respectively second and third in Tuesday's opening session.

Rutter shaved almost six seconds off his Tuesday best in second qualifying, with Jessopp – fastest through the speed trap, as his team-mate had been two days earlier, at a jaw-dropping 198mph – improving by nigh-on ten seconds to make it a commanding Riders Bathams Ducati one-two. Now, the former just wants it to stay dry.

“I'm really happy and can't really ask any more,” conceded 'The Blade' of his blistering effort to seize pole position aboard his 1198 Ducati. “The bike performed really well; we had a couple of technical issues towards the end of session, but the team worked hard to allow me to get out one lap at a time.

“Hopefully it will be dry on Saturday. I know my reputation is to ride well in the rain, but riding fast on wet roads like these is something you can only really master after a lot of practice. It is very different from a wet short circuit; if it's raining, one of the local guys may have the edge.”

“I was really happy with the bike,” echoed Jessopp, who nonetheless found himself grappling with a faulty quick-shifter and hauled himself impressively up the order from way down in 23rd at one stage to secure P2 on his very last attempt. “We got out first so I had a clear road ahead of me, I got my head down and gave it my best.

“When I pitted, the team made a few changes and I was really happy to get my final flying lap. On that final lap, I did make a tiny error – it's really hard not to on a circuit like this – so potentially, I could have been even quicker. The weather forecast is really bad for Saturday, though, so no-one really knows what will happen on the day.

“I would like to wish Stuart Easton a speedy recovery after his accident; he's a good friend of mine, so I hope to see him back on the track soon.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Jessopp, Riders Bathams Ducati, 2011 North West 200
Michael Rutter, Riders Bathams Ducati, 2011 North West 200
Michael Rutter, Riders Bathams Ducati, 2011 North West 200
Guy Martin on the Honda Fireblade at the Isle of Man TT.
Dean Harrison, Dan Kneen and Michael Dunlop at the Southern 100.
Michael Dunlop at the Classic TT
Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki in the Senior TT.
Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Superbike.
Michael Rutter took victory in the Lightweight TT on the Italian Paton.
Davey Lambert in the RST Superbike race.
Michael Dunlop in the Supersport TT.
Michael Dunlop on his Yamaha in the Supersport TT.
Peter Hickman claimed his maiden podium at the Isle of Man TT with a runner-up finish in the RST Superbike race.
Michael Dunlop at the start of the RST Superbike race on the Bennetts Suzuki.
Ian Hutchinson celebrates his victory in the RST Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT.
Ian Hutchinson on the Tyco BMW in the RST Superbike race.
Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki at the bottom of the Barregarrow during TT practice.
Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki during practice for the Isle of Man TT.

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st ninians - Unregistered

May 20, 2011 5:44 PM

Michael is a true racer whether it be track or road,he thinks safe and fast, a credit to any team,with Martin alongside him and with such great team backing he deserves a win come race day,as does Martin. A great team all round and they deserve results,rain or shine both Mike and Martin will give their best.

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