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2022 NW200: Dunlop, Cooper head Superstock and Supertwin qualifying

Michael Dunlop and Richard Cooper topped the opening qualifying sessions for the Superstock and Supertwin classes respectively at the North West 200 on Tuesday afternoon.

Dunlop took his MD Dunlop Racing Honda around the Triangle Circuit in a time of 4’35.056s and that put him 1.7s clear of 14-time winner Michael Rutter on the Bathams Racing BMW.
An earlier rain shower meant that times were a bit slower than expected with the gaps between the riders also wider than usual. Indeed, some 11s covered the top ten riders.
Cooper, in just his second outing at the NW200, put his Buildbase Suzuki in third just ahead of the impressive Dominic Herbertson (Haith/Rich Energy BMW) with Ian Hutchinson (Milwaukee BMW) and James Hillier (Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha) in fifth and sixth.
Craig Neve (CN Racing BMW), John McGuinness (Honda Racing), Alastair Seeley (IFS Racing Yamaha) and Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) completed the top ten but the conditions meant there were a number of non qualifiers including Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) and Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW).
The rain shower came mid way through the Supertwin session but Cooper timed his run perfectly on the Ryan Farquhar-prepared JMcC Roofing Kawasaki to get the better of no less than four Patons.
It was former Newcomers Manx Grand Prix winner and IRRC Supersport champion Pierre Yves-Bian (VAS Engine Racing) who impressively placed second ahead of Jeremy McWilliams (IFS/Bayview Hotel) and the Team ILR/Mark Coverdale pairing of  Rutter and Joseph Loughlin.
Christian Elkin (Dynocentre NI Kawasaki) finished sixth with Peter Hickman taking seventh having made a last minute switch to the PHR Performance Aprilia.
Jamie Coward (KTS Racing by Steadplan Kawasaki), Johnston (Ashcourt Racing Aprilia) and Neve (RB Engineering Kawasaki) rounded out the top ten but, like the Superstock class, there were a number of non-qualifiers.
Dunlop (McAdoo Racing Kawasaki), Michael Sweeney (KBS Kawasaki), Herbertson (Cowton Racing Kawasaki) and Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing Kawasaki) were among those who failed to post a qualifying time but will get a second bite of the cherry in Thursday’s second and final session.
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