14 August 2014
Ulster GP: Guy Martin opens up fastest at Dundrod
Suzuki star Guy Martin heads the Superbike times from Michael Dunlop as practice commences for the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod
Tyco Suzuki's Guy Martin threw down the gauntlet as the Lincolnshire rider led the way in the Superbike class on the opening day of practice for the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.
Martin, a hat-trick winner last year at the world's fastest road race, will start Thursday's Dundrod 150 Superbike race on pole position after taking the top spot with a speed of 130.158mph to finish 0.152 seconds ahead of Valvoline Padgetts Honda's Bruce Anstey, who lapped at 130.062mph.
The front row is completed by Ulsterman William Dunlop (Tyco Suzuki), who set a speed of 129.589mph. BMW's Michael Dunlop heads up row two after lapping at 129.537mph.
Martin raised the bar further in the opening qualifying session for the Ulster Grand Prix Superbike races at the 7.4-mile circuit.
The 32-year-old lapped at 131.753mph to set the fastest time of the night, with Michael Dunlop improving to 131.254mph, 0.769s down on his key rival.
Kiwi Anstey (131.112mph), William Dunlop (130.55mph) and Pirtek Honda rider Lee Johnston (130.307mph) were next, with Milwaukee Yamaha's Ian Hutchinson completing the top six at 129.829mph, three seconds down on Martin. Hutchinson is making his first appearance at the event since 2010, when he won three times.
Event newcomer Peter Hickman raised a few eyebrows as he posted the seventh quickest time on the Ice Valley BMW Superstock machine at 129.248mph. The British Superbike rider's lap was enough to secure him second place on the time sheets in the Superstock class, only 0.147s behind Michael Dunlop on the MD Racing BMW (129.340mph).
Hickman has qualified on pole for the Dundrod 150 National and Challenge races, which serve as support races to the main race bill.
Behind Dunlop and Hickman, Anstey (128.715mph) and Martin (128.708mph) were next on the Superstock leaderboard, while William Dunlop was quickest in the Supersport class at 126.578mph on the Tyco Suzuki from brother Michael (MD Racing Honda) by only 0.015s.
Anstey (126.375mph), Johnston (126.253mph) and Mar-Train Racing Yamaha star Dean Harrison (125.743mph) were the top five.
Scottish rider Keith Amor topped the Supertwin charts on the KMR Kawasaki by 0.648s from Ivan Lintin, lapping at 116.340mph.
Another event newcomer, Gearlink Kawasaki's Glenn Irwin, ended the evening third quickest on the VRS Kawasaki with an impressive lap of 115.682mph.
Final qualifying and the Dundrod 150 races take place on Thursday.
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