Glenn Irwin unnofically smashed Michael Dunlop's 2016 Superbike lap time.
GLENN Irwin clinched pole position for Saturday's two superbike races with a new, unofficial lap record on the Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki ZX10RR in today's final qualifying session at the North West 200.
The winner of the last three big bike races around the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit lapped in a time of 4min 21.767sec - just over three tenths of a second faster than Michael Dunlop’s outright lap record which has stood since 2016.
The pole position rounded off a good day for the Carrickfergus man who also qualified on the front row for the Superstock and Supertwins races on the Quattro Plant and KTS Racing Kawasakis.
"It's only pole but it's important,’ said Irwin, who bounced back in the best possible way following a poor opening qualifying session on Tuesday.
"I was down in the dumps and in tears on Tuesday night. I haven't been myself and didn’t want to be here but I came with a different attitude today."
Irwin had been helped on his ride to pole by Dean Harrison who circulated just in front of the Quattro Plant machine on his similar Silicone Kawasaki. Harrison also dipped under the existing lap record time before finishing 0.206 seconds behind Irwin.
Alastair Seeley completed the front row of the grid on the PBM/Be Wiser Ducati V4RR just 0.071 seconds behind Harrison.
Almost three seconds separated Seeley from fourth fastest Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW). Manxman Conor Cummins pushed his way into the reckoning as fifth fastest on the Milenco Padgett’s Honda Fireblade and Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) completed the top six.
Newcomer Richard Cooper made the established frontrunners sit up and take notice with a brilliant ride 8th fastest on the Bennett’s/Buildbase Suzuki just behind Michael Rutter’s Batham’s Racing/Aspire Ho RCV213S Honda.
Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing Fireblade) and James Hillier (Quattro Plant/ Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) completed the top ten. Peter Hickman completed just three laps on the Smith’s Racing BMW, failing to better his best time on Tuesday.
John McGuinness could only muster the twenty second best time on the Norton in his, and the bike manufacturer's, North West comeback. The Morecambe man lapped three seconds faster than he had on Tuesday on the Norton SG8 but only completed one lap before stopping retiring.