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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.
Gary Johnson will run his own team at TT 2017.
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.
Josh Brookes has signed to ride for Norton at the Isle of Man TT in 2017.
Dan Hegarty won the TT Privateers Championship in 2016.
Peter Hickman will ride for Smiths Racing in 2017 at the international road races and in the British Superbike Championship.
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.

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