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NW200: Seeley dominates on day one

Alastair Seeley sets early marker to top Superbike, Superstock and Supersport leaderboards as practice gets underway at North West 200
Tyco BMW's Alastair Seeley put down a marker as the experienced British championship rider dominated the feature classes during opening practice at the North West 200 on Tuesday.

Strong winds and heavy showers prevailed on the north coast at the 8.9-mile course during the Supersport and Superbike practice sessions, but Seeley put all his experience to good use.

The 35-year-old, who is three wins adrift of Ulster road racing legend Robert Dunlop's all-time record of 15 victories, made his mark on the S1000RR as he headed the Superbike leaderboard by 3.7 seconds from Gary Johnson on the GBmoto Kawasaki.

Lee Johnston, a double winner in the Supertwins class last year, was third fastest on the East Coast/Burdens BMW, 5.6 seconds down on the best time of 4m 53.639s set by Seeley, while Dean Harrison was fourth on the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha R1.

Yorkshire's Ian Hutchinson was satisfied with his performance as the PBM Kawasaki rider slotted into fifth position ahead of Honda Racing's John McGuinness, who has overcome the wrist injury that ruined his prospects last year.

Michael Rutter, who is the second most successful rider ever at the North West 200 along with Joey Dunlop on 13 victories, was seventh quickest on the Penz13.com BMW while the top eight was completed by Milwaukee Yamaha's Michael Dunlop, who won the feature Superbike race last season.

Tyco BMW pair William Dunlop and Guy Martin were ninth and tenth fastest respectively.

Seeley also led the way in the wet Supersport practice session on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 by 1.9 seconds from Michael Dunlop on his MD Racing Yamaha R6, with William Dunlop third fastest on the CD/IC Racing Caffrey Yamaha, a further 1.5 seconds in arrears.

Gary Johnson was fourth on the Mar-Train Yamaha followed by impressive newcomer and British Supersport contender Glenn Irwin on the Gearlink Kawasaki and Dean Harrison on the second of the Mar-Train Yamahas.

Lee Johnston (East Coast/Burdens Triumph) and Bruce Anstey on Clive Padgett's Honda – a Supersport winner in 2014 – were the top eight.

The track had dried out considerably for the final Superstock session and again Seeley held all the aces as he set the fastest lap of the day at 118.306mph to take provisional pole ahead of MD Racing's Michael Dunlop (Yamaha) by 4.2 seconds.

Dean Harrison was third fastest on the Mar-Train Yamaha ahead of Austria's Horst Saiger (Kawasaki) - the lap record holder for the class - with William Dunlop (Tyco BMW) and Rutter on the Penz13.com Bathams BMW the top six.

In the Supertwins class, James Hillier was quickest on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki by only 0.065 seconds from Ryan Farquhar on the SGS/KMR Kawasaki, with Jamie Hamilton (Cookstown/BE Kawasaki) and Michael Dunlop (McAdoo Kawasaki) the first four.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Alastair Seeley on the Tyco BMW at the North West 200
Action from the 2016 North West 200
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 during the Classic Superbike race at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey won the Lightweight race at the Classic TT on the Padgetts Honda RS250.
John McGuinness on the Winfield Paton at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts RS250 Honda at the Classic TT.
Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts RS250 Honda at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 during practice for the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop
Gary Johnson
Ian Lougher, Dean Harrison and Lee Johnston in the winners` enclosure following the 2015 500cc Classic TT
Tyco BMW`s Ian Hutchinson
Bruce Anstey on the YZR500 Yamaha at the Classic TT.
Ian Hutchinson leads Michael Dunlop in the Superbike class at the Ulster Grand Prix.

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