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Seeley On Top Form in North West 200 Qualifying

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Alastair Seeley is in confident mood after taking two pole positions put of three for Saturday's Relentless International North West 200.

The Northern Irishman lapped at record pace in both the Supersport and Superstock qualifying session to claim top spot for both events with a minor electrical problem thwarting any hopes of a clean sweep.

As a result, he will start the Superbike race in seventh, with Michael Rutter on pole, but the Relentless Suzuki rider is still confident of challenging for victory from the third row.

“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.”

Seeley was in blistering form on the GSX-R600 which has carried him through the British Supersport Championship, while in the Superstock class he felt there was more pace in the Suzuki machine if he'd needed it.

“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.”

Teammate Guy Martin will lead the team on the Superbike grid after qualifying fourth, while the Lincolnshire man also made progress in the Supersport and Superstock classes, and will start seventh and ninth in the respective races.

“I’ve continued to make progress in both sessions and at this stage I’ve had enough of qualifying; I just want to race”, he added. “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.”

Team Manager Phillip Neill also made the point that Martin's focus was firmly on race day, and is confident Saturday will be a successful day for the squad.

“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. Neill also shed light on the problems that hampered Seeley in Superbike qualifying, but is unconcerned about any potential recurrences tomorrow, with the weather his only concern.

“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.”

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MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and WorldSBK writer for The Checkered Flag. Contact: [email protected]
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