Alastair Seeley completed a pole hat-trick as the Ulster rider narrowly fended off Michael Dunlop in a scorching final Superbike qualifying at the North West 200.

The session was red-flagged with around 15 minutes remaining due to a red-flag incident at Mill Road roundabout, with the rider involved airlifted to hospital in Belfast. A statement released by the organisers said his injuries were non-life threatening.

Dunlop had thrown down a marker on the Hawk Racing BMW but not to be undone, Seeley grabbed pole with a lap of 122.343mph on his Briggs BMW to deny his fellow Northern Ireland rival by only 0.017 seconds.

"I went out at the start of the session and didn't feel like I had much grip so I came in and changed from the harder to the softer tyre," Seeley explained.

"We made some adjustments and it immediately felt better and with clear traffic on the second lap I set my fastest speed.

I can still tidy the bike up a bit because it isn't 100 per-cent yet but we have laid a marker down and everyone likes to get P1."

Thirteen-time winner Michael Rutter (121.648mph) was third fastest on the Bathams SMT BMW ahead of Lee Johnston, who heads up row two on the East Coast/Burdens BMW.

The Fermanagh man is joined by Peter Hickman, who was fifth quickest on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and Tyco BMW's Ian Hutchinson in sixth.

Hutchinson earlier broke the 200mph barrier through the speed trap on his Superstock-spec Tyco BMW, the first time a Superstock bike has been timed at that speed on the Triangle course.

Gary Johnson ( BMW) was seventh fastest with John McGuinness clinching eighth spot despite holing the radiator on his factory Honda.

James Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) and Ryan Farquhar (Tyco BMW) completed the top ten for both of Saturday's Superbike races.

Jeremy McWilliams qualified a very respectable 14th on the Mar-Train Yamaha R1 as he acts as stand-in for the injured Dan Kneen, finishing ahead of North West Superbike regulars Martin Jessopp (Riders BMW) and David Johnson (Ice Valley BMW).



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