An incredible day of weather made for an excellent day of racing on the first of two days practice/qualifying races ahead of Thursday and Saturdays races.
After the ‘Newbies’ made their maden laps, as racers at least, on the NW200 circuit, the real business of the practice races, and more importably qualifying began.
SUPERSPORT 1st QUALIFING
First to the grid were the Supersport machines and it was course record holder Alaistair Seeley on the back of the EHA Yamaha that took first position followed up by Lee Johnston in second and James Hiller in third.
Michael Dunlop showed no signs that his recent wrist injury was affecting his riding by polling forth in this class riding the MD racing Honda bike.
SUPERBIKE 1st QUALIFING
Taking off next from the starting grip were the Superbikes with all eyes heavy on Glen Irwin who this year has switched teams and bike to the Quattro plant Kawasiki. But it was to be his teammate James Hiller that would gain a position ahead of Irwin by a whisper who had to settler for 9th position.
Toping the table in the Superbike class was Dean Harrison, also on a Kawasaki, ahead of Michael Dunlop who returned this year for TYCO BMW on the new S1000RR with hopeful setup issues earlier this year fixed ahead of Saturdays races.
In third 24 time NW200 winner Alistair Seeley on the PBM/Be Wiser Ducati, replacing rival Glen Irwin on the team for this year. Lee Johnston just outside the top 3 in this class but remains in the top section of the table with Hickman taking sixth.
SUPERTWIN 1st QUALIFING
Next up on the grid was the Supertwin class with Jamie Coward taking the top sport followed by NW200 veteran Michael Rutter in second on the back of the less powerful KMR/ Bathams Kawasaki compared to the new RCV, and who will no doubt have his eye on making his 14 NW200 wins 15!
Christian Elkin took third with Glen Irwin making it into the top 5 for his first time out on the Supertwin during todays racing and Jeremy Williams taking fifth.
SUPERSTOCK 1st QUALIFING
To finish the first day of practice the Superstock bikes lined up for their tun on the circuit. Peter Hickman dominated this class polling first followed by Lee Johnston who has been very consistent across Tuesdays practices, appearing in the top 5 for 3/4 races. After racing for Honda Racing last year, this year Johnston has put his own team together and it looks, going by todays results, to be working well.
In third Michael Dunlop showed his face again and in forth James Hillier making a second appearance in the top 5 over Tuesdays four races. Michael Rutter completing the top five.
Thursday will see the second and final day of practice and qualifying races on the circuit with roads closed on Thursday morning from 9.15am to 3pm across the course.
Then after a short break we see the first three races of this years NW200 take place ahead of a full days racing on Saturday.