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2017 NW200: Seeley tops opening Superbike session

Tyco BMW’s Alastair Seeley has got his 2017 Vauxhall North West 200 Superbike campaign off to a perfect start, setting the fastest time in this afternoon’s opening practice at the nine-mile triangle.

In a session that was shortened by a crash in the previous Supersport practice, Seeley set to work on the S1000RR with a 4’25.100 to go 1.570s faster than veteran Michael Rutter, also BMW-mounted but running in Bathams/SMT livery.

“The Superbike felt good but I didn’t go mad out there today We had new brakes to bed in and new tyres but the BMW felt very fast I got tucked in behind John McGuinness and Glenn Irwin on my last lap and passed both of them on track to set my fastest time,” said Seeley.


Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop made his debut on the Bennetts Suzuki and set the third fastest time, a second slower than Rutter while Ian Hutchinson stuck his Tyco BMW in fourth, 4.682s off the lead but said he was held up on his fastest lap.

Superbike rookie Glenn Irwin took fifth on the Be Wiser Ducati and is a couple of tenths behind Hutchinson with Martin Jessopp, who is still suffering with sciatica, in sixth. John McGuinness put the new Honda Fireblade in seventh but said he was a little concerned about high-speed stablility.

Lee Johnston put his ex-Nicky Hayden Fireblade in eighth with Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison completing the top ten. James Hiller was just outside the top ten, behind Horst Saiger in 12th and one place ahead of Dan Kneen in 13th. Irish roads championship master Derek Sheils ended in 14th, just in front of Bruce Anstey who is using a 2016-spec Fireblade in the Superbike class.

Returning TV star Guy Martin finished down in 19th place, behind William Dunlop, Jamie Coward and Ivan Lintin.

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