Dominating the podium for the Supertwin race, Kawasaki ER-6f based machines placed first to eighth in a race won by MotoGP and Grand Prix veteran Jeremy McWilliams. The popular Irish rider opened his account by heading the practice leader board to take pole position on the grid for the four lap race at a circuit he has remarkably only ridden on once before.
With fellow KMR Vauxhall Dealers of Northern Ireland teammate, Jamie Hamilton, in third the two were split by Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s James Hillier who also achieved the fastest lap and set a new lap record for the class of 102.238 mph.
Superstock qualifying eventually went well for strong hope in the race, MSS Kawasaki rider, Alastair Seeley. With some weather and machine set up issues, the Carrickfergus rider eventually triumphed to take the premier spot on the grid for the six lap race.
The Irish ace – who has a long history of success at the North West 200 – rode a masterful race to take a commanding win from a swathe of pure roads specialists with Bruce Anstey in second place and Kawasaki debutant, Gary Johnson, a solid third on his Lincs Lifting Ninja ZX-10R.
Johnson in fact made the best tyre choice to start the race with and surged to the front initially on his ZX-10R only to be overhauled by Seeley who took his time to acclimatise to the various damp patches around the course.
Making it a double for the day – and securing Kawasaki dominance over all three races – Seeley also bagged the Supersport race with a win over Michael Dunlop in second and Guy Martin occupying the final podium position.
Qualifying in a lowly 31st place having had a troubled Tuesday session on his Gearlink Ninja ZX-6R, the rider who is currently leading the British Supersport Championship, started on the fourth row of Group B as his only other chance of a qualifying time was marred by rain. It mattered not as he made an amazing recovery to pass a swathe of riders for an imperious win.
Speaking about the first day’s racing, Kawasaki’s Race Coordinator, Ross Burridge, was delighted with the results. “Sure we were optimistic coming to the North West 200 as so many Kawasaki riders are in such good form right now. To dominate the Supertwin podium and post a lap record as well was a result to be proud of and bodes well for the TT.
Added to that, Alastair Seeley has really pulled something out of the bag today. Despite some real challenges in qualifying, he kept his head and showed his mettle to take two superb wins. I am delighted for all the riders, including Gary Johnson who has already tasted podium success in his first ride on a Kawasaki, now let’s see what the rest of the week holds in store”.
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