Michael Rutter made the most of the perfect conditions as he posted his fastest lap ever around the North West 200 course to claim pole for Saturday's Superbike races.

Rutter lapped at 122.345mph on the Bathams BMW to secure the top spot from Tyco BMW rider Alastair Seeley as he bettered him time from Tuesday by 2.7 seconds.

"I am really happy with that lap today," said Rutter. "There was a lot more grip today because the track was a lot cleaner than on Tuesday so I just went out and just tried to keep my head down and get a good lap in. When you do that around here you never know what will happen."

The final Superbike qualifying session was cut short with 21 minutes to go after John McGuinness came off at Primrose corner, sustaining a suspected broken leg.

Seeley, who is the most successful rider ever at the North West with 17 wins, was 1.1 seconds back, while the front row was completed by Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati.

Irwin was only half a second behind Seeley as he makes his Superbike debut at the North West and will go into Saturday's race among the favourites.

Michael Dunlop was fourth fastest on the Bennetts Suzuki ahead of Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW).

In the Superstock class, Seeley took pole with a blistering lap that was narrowly outside Michael Dunlop's outright lap record, lapping at 123.203mph - only 1/900th of a second off Dunlop's 2016 benchmark.

Rutter was second fastest ahead of Lee Johnston on the East Coast BMW and Dean Harrison, who qualified fifth on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.

In the Supersport class, it was Seeley again who led the way on the Gearlink Kawasaki for pole, with Johnston only 1.2 seconds back on the Jackson Racing Honda. Michael Dunlop completes the front row on his MD Yamaha ahead of Jessopp (Triumph) and Harrison.

Yeovil man Jessopp sealed pole for the Supertwins races on his Kawasaki from Rutter, who was a late replacement for Hudson Kennaugh on Ryan Farquhar's KMR/IEG Kawasaki.



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