Michael Dunlop shattered the outright lap record at the North West 200 to win the opening Superbike race on the Hawk Racing BMW.

The race was halted on lap four when Bruce Anstey came off the Padgetts Valvoline Honda at Church corner, fortunately escaping injury.

Anstey, who had been challenging for the top three, had earlier set a new top speed record on the Fireblade of a staggering 209.8mph on the run to Coleraine.

Dunlop, second fastest behind Alastair Seeley in qualifying, was back in sixth on the opening lap but came through on the S1000RR to slot into second place behind Tyco BMW's Ian Hutchinson by the end of lap two.

Pole man Seeley blew his chances when he ran on at University on lap one, dropping back to 19th place on the Briggs BMW.

Behind Hutchinson and Dunlop, Lee Johnston on the East Coast/Burdens BMW, Anstey, Peter Hickman (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and Michael Rutter on the Bathams SMT BMW were in hot pursuit.

Dunlop was setting a scorching pace and obliterated the lap record on lap three, setting a new benchmark of 123.207mph to take over from Josh Brookes as the fastest rider ever around the 8.9-mile Triangle course.

The 11-time Isle of Man TT winner had now established a comfortable cushion over Rutter, who came through to second place following Anstey's spill.

Hickman, making his second appearance at the North West after missing the event through injury last year, was into third place ahead of Hutchinson, who dropped back with a gear selection problem on the S1000RR.

However, the result was counted back a lap due to the red-flag incident involving Kiwi Anstey, with Hutchinson taking the runner-up spot ahead of Rutter.

Hickman was fourth from Lee Johnston and Honda Racing pair John McGuinness and Conor Cummins in sixth and seventh respectively.

Seeley fought his way back to take eighth, 23 seconds behind race winner Dunlop.