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Martin Jessopp clocked at 208mph on Ducati at North West 200

'It felt like my arms were going to come out of my shoulders but I think I could've gone even faster' - Martin Jessopp
World Supersport rider Martin Jessopp pulverised the top speed record at the Relentless International North West 200 with a phenomenal 208mph blast through the timing beam, but it was Ulster hero Alastair Seeley who set the pace in the opening Superbike qualifying session.

Jessopp, who is back on the Riders Ducati he used at the North West 200 last year and rode in the British Superbike Championship prior to his switch to World Supersport, cracked Scotsman Stuart Easton's previous best speed of 204mph set on the Swan Honda Fireblade in 2010.

However, he had to settle for the fifth fastest time overall, with Tyco Suzuki's Seeley living up to his favourite tag by securing provisional pole in the opening practice session on his BSB-spec GSX-R1000.

Seeley's best lap of 120.68mph for the 8.9-mile circuit on Northern Ireland's North Coast put him ahead of Honda TT Legends ace John McGuinness (119.23mph), with over three seconds between the pair.

William Dunlop was third quickest on Wilson Craig's Honda (118.43mph) as two Ulster riders filled the top three positions, with Guy Martin next at 117.91mph and record-breaker Jessopp fifth (117.61mph).

Swan Yamaha's Ian Hutchinson was an incredible sixth fastest on his road racing return, lapping at 117.56mph and also managing a top speed of 202.5mph on the YZF-R1.

Michael Dunlop on the Hunts Motorcycles/McAdoo Honda rounded out the leading seven with an average speed of 117.54mph.

Jessopp, who lit up the first practice session with that phenomenal 208mph top speed on the run down the long straight from the ferociously fast Station Corner to University, may have been aided by a tail wind, but nonetheless his name has gone into the North West 200 history books.

“It was a bit of an eye-opener travelling at that speed,” Jessopp said. “It felt like my arms were going to come out of my shoulders but I think I could've gone even faster.

“I was out on my own when I did it and if I'd have a slipstream from someone it could have been faster.

“It's nice to have the fastest speed but that's not what we're here for and we're not on the front row yet, so we've still got work to do,” added Jessopp, who is competing on the Riders PTR Honda in the World Supersport class this year.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Jessopp, Riders Bathams Ducati, 2011 North West 200
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.
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.
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.
Action from the 2016 North West 200
John McGuinness on the Winfield Paton at the Classic TT.
Senior TT race winner Michael Dunlop, runner-up Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness
John McGuinness on the Honda Racing Fireblade at Ballacrye
John McGuinness on the Honda Racing Superbike during Isle of Man TT practice.
A unique collection of machines raced by John McGuinness at the Isle of Man TT will be on display in 2016 to mark his 20th anniversary of racing at the event.
Manx rider Dean Martin
Lee Johnston on the East Coast/Burdens Triumph at the North West 200.

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