NW200: William Dunlop has edge in Supersport class

Tyco Suzuki's William Dunlop claimed provisional pole in the Supersport class ahead of Michael Rutter as practice got under way at the North West 200 on Tuesday
NW200: William Dunlop has edge in Supersport class

Fresh from his victory in the Supersport class at the Tandragee 100, Tyco Suzuki's William Dunlop hit the top of the times in the first practice session at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

The 28-year-old from Ballymoney set the fastest time on Tuesday on the GSX-600 at 114.754mph to take the top spot from the impressive Michael Rutter (114.193mph), who was 1.384s behind on the Smiths Triumph 675.

Dunlop said: "I'm pretty pleased with that for an opening day at the North West. I had every confidence we could be up there on the GSX-R600 Supersport bike but was also looking for a top ride on the Superbike.

"I will take fourth place happily. We had no major problems and with more time on the Superstock bike in a full session we can get well up the grid."

Rutter, who has 13 victories at the North West 200 to sit joint second with Joey Dunlop in the all-time winners' list, finished ahead of Mar-Train Racing's Alastair Seeley, who lapped at 114.177mph in the dry and sunny conditions to slot into third position.

Lee Johnston on the East Coast Racing/Pirtek Honda was fourth, while Gary Johnson (Smiths Triumph) and Guy Martin (Tyco Suzuki) rounded out the top six.

John McGuinness on the Valvoline Padgett's Honda was next followed by Michael Dunlop on his MD Racing Honda and former World Supersport winner Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha).

Kiwi Bruce Anstey on the second of the Valvoline Padgett's Honda machines completed the top ten.

Scottish rider Keith Amor, making his first appearance at the event since 2010, was 15th on the Rig Deluge Honda, one place ahead of Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee Yamaha), who was high-sided off his machine at Mill Road Roundabout.

Hutchinson missed the Superbike session but was later reported to walking wounded by team manager Shaun Muir and managed to complete a few laps on his Superbike in the final Superstock session.

Tuesday Supersport order:
1. William Dunlop
2. Michael Rutter
3. Alastair Seeley
4. Lee Johnston
5. Gary Johnston
6. Guy Martin
7. John McGuinness
8. Michael Dunlop
9. Josh Brookes
10. Bruce Anstey
11. Dan Cooper
12. Derek Sheils
13. James Hillier
14. Dean Harrison
15. Keith Amor
16. Ian Hutchinson
17. Connor Behan
18. Stephen Thompson
19. Horst Saiger
20. Dan Kneen

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