The first practice sessions of the 2012 NW200 took place today with Honda TT Legends’ John McGuinness on the provisional front row for Saturday’s Superbike races. Team-mate and North West 200 newcomer Simon Andrews came 19th on the official timesheets.
Despite an earlier hailstorm and intermittent showers on the 8.9 mile Northern Irish circuit, the first Superbike practice took place in mainly dry conditions. McGuinness posted an average speed of 119.25mph to place second on the timesheets, while Andrews took the time to better acquaint himself with the lap layout and ended the session in 19th.
Both riders will now take part in the second Superbike practice session on Thursday 17 May before the final grid positions are decided for Saturday’s races.
It’s been a really good first day. We were lucky with the weather as there was a heavy hailstorm just before the sessions started but it dried out pretty quick and we were able to do most of qualifying without any rain. It started again just at the end of the last practice, but we got a good run in. I was a bit nervous heading out after missing the event last year, but as soon as I got out there all the years of riding here came flooding back and I really enjoyed it. We’re up there in second and competitive in the Superbike class so it’s been a good day.
I went out in the newcomers session this morning and struggled a bit with my leg but when I got back out in the Superbike practice the adrenalin got it sorted and I felt much better. The bike was handling really well and I just wanted to stay out and spend as much time as possible getting to know the circuit. I pulled in towards the end for some small adjustments to the set-up and after that it felt even better. I’m happy enough and hopefully the weather will stay dry for the next session on Thursday.
The week-long North West 200 festival features a whole host of activities to entertain all ages – from paddock walkabouts and rider meet and greets to live music and firework displays. To view the whole schedule visit http://www.northwest200.org/race-week-festival.aspx
A North West 200 preview will be shown at 22.35 on Friday 18 May on BBC One, while two highlights packages will air at 22.20 on Sunday 20 May and 22.35 on Monday 21 May on BBC One. All races will be shown live on the BBC Sport NI website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/northern-ireland/motorbikes/
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North West 200 – 2012 schedule
Thursday 17th May Practice
Roads close 9.30am to 2.30pm
Thursday 17th May Racing
Roads close 5.30pm to 9.00pm
1. Superstock race 1
2. Supertwin race
Saturday 19th May Racing
Roads close 10.00 am to 6.30pm
Racing commences at 11.00am
1. Supersport race 1
2. Superbike race 1
3. Superstock race 2
4. Supersport race 2
5. NW 200 Superbike race
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