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NW200: Rutter under lap record in Superstock class

Thirteen-time North West 200 winner Michael Rutter unofficially broke the lap record to put down a marker during the opening Superstock practice session on Tuesday.
North West 200 legend Michael Rutter unofficially smashed the lap record to storm the Superstock leader board on the opening day of North West 200 practice on Tuesday.

Rutter, who has won 13 times around the 8.9-mile Triangle course, lapped at 121.847mph to head off Alastair Seeley (Briggs BMW), who was only 0.970s adrift as both men broke into the 121mph bracket.

“I am well happy with that," Rutter said. “It is good to be here on a bike that I ride all of the time [in British Superstock Championship].

"I can just jump on and get going with this bike because I know it but with the Superbike that hasn't turned a wheel before this week I'm not sure what it is going to do.”

Rutter's last race win at Portrush was in the Superstock event in 2012 and he believes he can win again.

“It was great to ride along the coast road in the sunshine today and see everyone at the side of the road," said the 44-year-old.

“I haven't seen this place like that for about ten years and it felt just like the old days.”

Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson, who has been in terrific form in the British Superstock Championship, was third fastest on the Tyco BMW at 120.803mph as he finished 2.291s behind Rutter.

The session was red-flagged with just over a minute remaining due to a crash at the Mill Road section of the course, although the incident is not believed to have been serious.

Michael Dunlop, fastest in the Superbike class, was fourth on his MD Racing BMW Superstock machine, 2.6 seconds off the top spot, with last year's race winner Lee Johnston next on the East Coast/Burdens BMW.

Martin Jessopp completed the top six on his Riders Motorcycles BMW with a lap at 120.049mph and was followed by Gary Johnson (Penz13.com BMW) and Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) in seventh and eighth places respectively.

In the Supertwins class, Jessopp set the pace on his Kawasaki but only by 0.046s from Ivan Lintin on the RC Express Kawasaki, with Ryan Farquhar also right in the mix on his SGS KMR machine, 1.597s back on Jessopp.

James Hillier, a former winner in the class at the Isle of Man TT, was fourth quickest on the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki.

Final practice takes place on Thursday followed by the evening race programme, which includes the first Superstock, Supersport and Supertwin races ahead of Saturday's main event.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Rutter on the Bathams SMT BMW at the North West 200.
Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki in the Senior TT.
Peter Hickman in the Senior TT on the Smiths BMW.
Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki in the Senior TT.
Bruce Anstey on his way to victory in the TT Zero race.
Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Superbike.
Jochem van den Hoek.
Michael Rutter took victory in the Lightweight TT on the Italian Paton.
Dan Kneen celebrates with his team after sealing his maiden Isle of Man TT rostrum in the Superstock race.
Ian Hutchinson celebrates his Superstock victory.
Ian Hutchinson on his way to victory in the Superstock TT on the Tyco BMW.
Davey Lambert in the RST Superbike race.
A Sidecar narrowly missed spectators in an incident that was captured in a video posted on YouTube.
James Hillier on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki in the opening Supersport TT 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.

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