Michael Dunlop will line up in pole position for Saturday’s Superbike races at the Ulster Grand Prix after the Hawk Racing BMW ace put in a final lap of 131.783mph to edge out Peter Hickman. The GBMoto Kawasaki rider looked like he’d done enough to claim the top spot only for Dunlop to get the better of him by just over a second in the closing stages.
It was Ian Hutchinson who was quickest on the first flying lap at 127.008mph but with conditions improving all the time, Hickman bettered that second time with a speed of 128.292mph. Bruce Anstey moved up to second initially on the Honda RCV213-S but on the third lap, Hutchinson and his Tyco BMW recorded the first 130mph lap of the week with 130.136mph, which would prove to be his fastest of the session. Both Hickman and Anstey improved also and that was the top three with twenty minutes to go.
Dunlop then edged out Hutchinson by just 0.082s only for Hickman to upstage them both with a lap of 131.063mph. It gave him a healthy advantage over Dunlop but the Ballymoney ace wasn’t to be denied and his lap of 131.783mph saw him take his second pole position of the day.
Hickman held onto second with Anstey, who was quickest through the speed trap at 196.3mph, taking the final spot on the front row after lapping at 130.220mph. Hutchinson was the only other rider to break the 130mph in fourth with Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) and Conor Cummins (Honda Racing) joining him on the second row.
Derek Sheils, Gary Johnson, William Dunlop and Dan Kneen completed the top ten just ahead of Steve Mercer and Jamie Coward whilst Daniel Hegarty was the best of the newcomers in 18th after lapping at 123.405mph. That put him one place ahead of fellow debutante David Jackson.