May 20, 2011
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Alastair Seeley (34).
Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing's Alastair Seeley and Guy Martin are quietly confident going into tomorrow's 2011 Relentless International North West 200, despite inclement weather conditions threatening the five-race programme.
Alastair Seeley virtually dominated Tuesday and Thursday's qualifying sessions, heading both the Superstock and Supersport timing sheets. The Carrickfergus man set an unofficial lap record [Superstock] on his GSX-R1000 with a speed of 119.706mph. He was also on lap-record-pace in the Supersport class taking top spot with a lap speed of 115.937mph on Suzuki's all-new GSX-R600 - the very same machine Seeley is campaigning in the British Supersport Championship.
Unfortunately the team suffered a minor electrical problem with Seeley's GSX-R1000 Superbike during Thursday's session, eliminating the chance of a pole position clean sweep, but the reigning NW200 Superbike Champion is confident of starting from row three in seventh position.
Guy Martin was the team's main player in the premier Superbike class on Thursday taking the fourth fastest time and a second-row grid slot with a lap speed of 120.008mph. In both the Superstock and Supersport classes the Lincolnshire man will start from the third row in ninth and seventh places respectively, with times of 116.811mph and 113.812mph.
"We lost a lot of track time in that second session on the Superbike, but the boys will sort the problem and row three is certainly not a disaster here at the North West. Yes it would have been nice to have capped qualifying off with three pole positions but it wasn't meant to be and we can't complain at all. The Supersport class will always be close, but I picked a good clean lap with no one following me and the wee 600 was on rails. I just couldn't fault the new GSX-R600 and for a new bike at such a high speed circuit as the NW200, it just shows how good a package the Suzuki really is. We made a few changes on the Superstock bike and dipped inside the lap record quite easily; I could actually have gone quite a bit faster. All's good going into tomorrow and the biggest factor now will be the weather."
"I've continued to make progress in both sessions and at this stage I've had enough of qualifying; I just want to race. As I said on Tuesday, the Superbike is mega and the Supersport bike is the nicest 600 I've ever ridden. We made a few adjustments to the Superstock bike and it's also good to go. I'm now looking forward to tomorrow."
Philip Neill - Team Manager:
"Thursday was almost a perfect day for us, and I have to again applaud the organisers for giving the teams a daytime session as that is now the most important day for finding the correct settings for Saturday's races. Alastair's performance speaks for itself with two pole times but Guy is less worried about qualifying, he just wanted to find the correct set-up for tomorrow and is now ready to race. Pole position or seventh place will not make a difference here at the North West as Alastair could still lead the Superbike races three miles into lap one.
"We did have a small electrical issue forcing the fuel pump to cut out on the number 34 Superbike, and in the interest of safety we just wouldn't allow Alastair to continue in that session. As a team we're ready to race, but with widespread rain forecast we will have to be prepared to change our game plan with set-up and tyres at the last minute if need be.
"On behalf of our whole team, I'd also like to wish Stuart Easton a speedy recovery after his crash during Thursday's session."