Glenn Irwin is on pole for Saturday’s Superbike races at the 2022 fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 after blitzing the 8.9 mile Triangle circuit on the Honda Racing Fireblade during Thursday’s final qualifying session.
Lapping at 124.102mph, Irwin was 1. 8 seconds faster than Michael Dunlop’s official lap record.
Irwin, who was also fastest in the final Superstock qualifying session, said he was would have been even faster on the final lap of the superbike session before his Honda began to run out of petrol at Metropole.
“We were on a special one.” the Carrickfergus racer laughed.
“That would have been fillet steak with a prawn on top but in the end I had to settle for ribeye!”
Irwin switched to his BSB spec superbike for Thursday’s qualifying after being hit by a catalogue of electronic issues during Tuesday’s session.
“There was no throttle blipper, no quick shifter and we were stuck in gear but that was all sorted for today.” he explained.
“Maybe there was also a bit too much adrenaline on Tuesday as well because this place means so much to me but after I had some of John McGuinness’s gin on Tuesday night and a relaxing day with my family and fans yesterday and got stuck in straight away today. I was riding a bike I ride week in, week out.’
The world’s fastest road racer, Peter Hickman was second quickest on the FHO Racing BMW, two seconds slower than Irwin with 2019’s fastest newcomer, Richard Cooper, third on the Buildbase Suzuki, just over half a second further back.
“I am happy with the way qualifying went after being away from the roads for so long.” Hickman said.
“It has taken a while to get into the groove again. We only had a couple of laps on Tuesday because of a technical issue so we are a bit behind in terms of set-up. To be on the first two rows here is important so I am happy with that.”
Roads will close at 5pm on Thursday evening for the opening three races; the Strain Engineering Supersport, Turkington Superstock and Milltown Service Station Supertwin events.
The action then moves to Saturday with roads closing at 9.15am for the Tides Restaurant Supersport, Anchor Bar Superbike, John M Paterson Supertwin, CP Hire Superstock and the feature Merrow Hotel and Spa North West 200 Superbike races.