Michael Dunlop picked up where he left off by claiming pole position for Saturday’s Superstock race at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
Heavy mist resulted in a long delay of more than three hours at Dundrod on Thursday before a wheel was turned, but finally conditions improved sufficiently to allow the Superstock session to go ahead, with roads still damp.
Dunlop, riding his MD Racing BMW, headed the times with a lap of 121.625mph to claim pole by 1.535 seconds from Derek Sheils, who lapped at 120.779mph on his Shirlaw Kawasaki. Ballymoney man Dunlop set the fastest laps in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport sessions on Wednesday.
Steve Mercer, standing in for the injured Ivan Lintin in the Devitt RC Express Kawasaki team, secured an excellent front row start as he slotted into third ahead of team-mate Jamie Coward, who has replaced Alan Bonner in the Bristol-based team after the Co Meath man was injured in a crash at the Southern 100.
Valvoline Padgetts Honda riders Conor Cummins and Bruce Anstey completed the top six, followed by last year’s runner-up Peter Hickman on the GBmoto Kawasaki and Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki).
Dan Kneen (Mar-Train Yamaha) and Derek McGee on the NW BMW rounded out the top ten.
Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson was down in 15th place while Gary Johnson, called into the East Coast Racing team as a late replacement Lee Johnston after the Fermanagh rider sustained a broken collarbone in a crash during Wednesday’s practice, was 14th fastest on the BMW S1000RR.
The session was red-flagged right at the end following an incident at Quarterlands. The rider involved has been taken to hospital.