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May 17, 2018

Glenn Irwin Grabs Pole Position For North West 200 (Updated)

Glenn Irwin (2). Photo by Pacemaker Press, courtesy of North West 200 Press Office.


Glenn Irwin will start on pole position in Saturday’s Superbike races at the 2018 Vauxhall International North West 200.

The PBM/Be Wiser Ducati rider, who is only competing in the superbike class, topped the time sheets during a dramatic final qualifying session on Thursday afternoon with less than one second separating the five fastest riders!

“I am really, really happy to take pole.” Irwin smiled.

“I’ve only done about six laps in the dry around here this week and the rest of the boys have done 40 or 50. In that last session I thought we had more time and I pulled into get a new tyre but then I decided to go out again without changing it!”

The final superbike qualifying session had to be red flagged after Lee Johnston’s Honda Racing Fireblade blew an engine at Carnelridge and dropped oil on the road. With the track cleaned there were just 20 minutes left before the roads had to be reopened, turning the final session into a hectic sprint for the frontrunners.

Irwin set his pole time on his final circuit.

“We had made a slight change to the bike and it wasn’t as stable as before which was a bit scary when it started weaving in straight lines.” last year’s feature superbike race winner explained.

“I made a mess of the last corner because of the old tyre and that affected my time but it will be close on Saturday.”

Silicone Kawasaki’s Dean Harrison finished just 0.066 seconds behind the Carrickfergus rider after getting a tow from Alastair Seeley on his final lap.

“I had a bit of clear track on that last lap and rode round with somebody who was fast.” the Bradford rider said.

“It will be close come the races and will probably come down to whoever is in the right place at the right time in the slipstreaming.”

Local hero, Michael Dunlop was 0.094 seconds behind Harrison, just 0.7 seconds ahead of Tyco BMW teammate and 21 times North West winner Alastair Seeley. 46 year old Michael Rutter completed the top five on the Bathams BMW, just 0.875 seconds behind Irwin. Rutter had followed the Ducati rider during the session.

“I thought I could have a bit of a go with Glenn but the big Duke has so much punch out of the corners.” the nine times North West superbike race winner said.

Martin Jessopp completed the front two rows of the starting grid for Saturday’s big bike races more than a second back on the Riders Motorcycles BMW.

Peter Hickman (Smith’s BMW), William Dunlop (Temple Golf Club Yamaha), Conor Cummins (Padgett’s Honda) and Lee Johnston (Honda Racing) completed the top ten. Johnston had to ride his superstock spec Fireblade in the restart.

Johnston’s Honda teammate, Ian Hutchinson, was 13th fastest as he makes his return from injury.

With sunshine and dry roads predicted for the rest of the week, the thrilling qualifying session has now set the scene for two explosive big bike races around the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit on Saturday. 

Vauxhall International North West 200

Triangle Circuit, Northern Ireland

May 17, 2018

Superbike Second Qualifying Results:

1. Glenn Irwin (Duc Panigale R), Lap Time 4:23.708, Average Speed 122.454 mph

2. Dean Harrison (Kaw ZX-10R), 4:23.774, 122.423 mph

3. Michael Dunlop (BMW S1000RR), 4:23.802, 122.410 mph

4. Alastair Seeley (BMW S1000RR), 4:24.521, 122.077 mph

5. Michael Rutter (BMW S1000RR), 4:24.583, 122.049 mph

6. Martin Jessopp (BMW S1000RR), 4:25.650, 121.558 mph

7. Peter Hickman (BMW S1000RR), 4:26.170, 121.321 mph

8. William Dunlop (Yam YZF-R1), 4:27.163, 120.870 mph

9. Conor Cummins (Hon CBR1000RR), 4:27.405, 120.761 mph

10. Lee Johnston (Hon CBR1000RR), 4:28.384, 120.320 mph

Superstock (1000cc) Second Qualifying Results:

1. Alastair Seeley (BMW S1000RR), Lap Time 4:26.061, Average Speed 121.371 mph

2. Dean Harrison (Kaw ZX-10R), 4:28.140, 120.430 mph

3. Michael Dunlop (BMW S1000RR), 4:28.204, 120.401 mph

4. Michael Rutter (BMW S1000RR), 4:29.051, 120.022 mph

5. Dan Kneen (BMW S1000RR), 4:29.644, 119.758 mph

6. Peter Hickman (BMW S1000RR), 4:30.247, 119.491 mph

7. James Hillier (Kaw ZX-10R), 4:30.467, 119.393 mph

8. Martin Jessopp (BMW S1000RR), 4:31.972, 118.733 mph

9. Gary Johnson (Kaw ZX-10R), 4:32.350, 118.568 mph

10. Lee Johnston (Hon CBR1000RR), 4:32.979, 118.295 mph

Supersport (600cc) Second Qualifying Results:

1. Alastair Seeley (Yam YZF-R6), Lap Time 4:36.088, Average Speed 116.963 mph

2. Martin Jessopp (Tri Daytona 675R), 4:38.909, 115.780 mph

3. Dean Harrison (Kaw ZX-6R), 4:39.138, 115.685 mph

4. Michael Dunlop (Hon CBR600RR), 4:39.180, 115.667 mph

5. Lee Johnston (Hon CBR600RR), 4:39.219, 115.651 mph

6. William Dunlop (Yam YZF-R6), 4:40.255, 115.224 mph

7. Adam McLean (Kaw ZX-6R), 4:41.244, 114.818 mph

8. Conor Cummins (Hon CBR600RR), 4:41.296, 114.797 mph

9. Michael Sweeney (Yam YZF-R6), 4:41.421, 114.746 mph

10. Daniel Cooper (Hon CBR600RR), 4:44.563, 113.479 mph

Supertwin Second Qualifying Results:

1. Martin Jessopp (Kaw 650), Lap Time 4:56.536, Average Speed 108.897 mph

2. Adam McLean (Kaw 650), 4:56.574, 108.883 mph

3. James Cowton (Kaw 650), 4:57.716, 108.466 mph

4. Joey Thompson (Paton), 4:59.178, 107.936 mph

5. Derek McGee (Kaw 650), 5:00.337, 107.519 mph

6. Jeremy McWilliams (Kaw 650), 5:00.927, 107.308 mph

7. Christian Elkin (Kaw 650), 5:05.774, 105.607 mph

8. Xavier Denis (Kaw 650), 5:09.753, 104.251 mph

9. Michael Sweeney (Kaw 650), 5:11.157, 103.780 mph

10. Darren Cooper (Kaw 650), 5:13.491, 103.008 mph

17. Matt Sadowski (Kaw 650), 5:20.547, 100.740 mph