Northwest 200: Seeley Grabs Two Poles
2011 Northwest 200
The reigning Northwest 200 Superbike Champion, Alastair Seeley, didn’t make the pole for the Superbike race, but topped qualifying for the Superstock and Supersport classes.
The Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider battled through inclement weather at the track in Ireland to post the unofficial Superstock lap record aboard the GSX-R1000, with a speed of 119.706 mph.
TAS Suzuki says Seeley 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.
But when it came time to run the GSX-R1000 for the Superbike qualifying, the team had some electrical issues. But regardless, he qualified in seventh position; Batham’s Ducati rider Michael Rutter took the pole.
As for Seeley’s teammate, Isle of Man TT star Guy Martin, he qualified fourth for the Superbike class; in the In both the Superstock and Supersport classes the Lincolnshire man will start from the third row in ninth and seventh places respectively.
Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) says: “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.”
Guy Martin (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) says: “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 (Relentless Suzuki Team Manager) says: “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 tires 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.”