Michael Dunlop fourth in North West 200 Superbike qualifying
(Thursday, 11 May 2017)
Michael Dunlop will start Saturday’s two Superbike races at the North West 200 from the second row of the grid, the Northern Irishman qualifying in fourth place onboard his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000.
With the new Suzuki making its road racing debut the team was always going to be busy trying to find a good base setting. With limited track time, the focus was mostly on testing various suspension settings to allow the new GSX-R1000 to cope with the imperfections of the roads around the Triangle circuit. Despite having plenty to test, confidence is high ahead of Saturday’s races.
Michael Dunlop, "This is the first time we’ve had the new Suzuki flat out, so we’re still learning the bike. We’re the only ones here with a completely brand new motorcycle, so we’ve been working on our setup, our gearing, on improving the chassis. Steve and the boys have been working hard, I’m feeling good. We’ve set a good lap time in qualifying without pushing to the limit, so we’ll see how we go in the races."
Steve Hicken, team manager, "We’ve done a lot of work and it’s going well. We’ve only had about 40 minutes of Superbike practice and we’ve been doing all we can in that time to keep improving the bike. It’s the first time its ever raced on the roads so we’re learning every lap. Michael’s riding well and we’re quite happy with our position. We’ve got a package Michael can do well with, we know we’ve got a good bike, we’re just trying to find the sweet spot. We’re making more changes for the first race, but with no more practice laps we’re going in blind. But we should be able to do a job, and I expect us to go even better in race two."
Superbike qualifying result: 1. Michael Rutter, 2. Alastair Seeley, 3. Glenn Irwin, 4. Michael Dunlop