Michael Dunlop stormed to victory in the Dundrod 150 despite suffering from back problems caused by two slipped discs.
This was the 23-year old Ballymoney rider’s first Dundrod 150 victory and sets him up well for today’s Ulster Grand Prix.
Dunlop was 1.5secs ahead at the end of lap two and although Guy Martin chased him hard it was the McAdoo Hunts Honda man who set the fastest lap at 133.375mph — his fastest ever Dundrod lap — on lap three to stretch his advantage to 2.4secs.
Martin finished second ahead of Tyco Suzuki by TAS team mate Conor Cummins.
Dunlop said: “It was head down from the start although I had a big moment at Quarterlands where I hit a white line with the feet off the pegs and bike sideways.
“It’s looking good for Saturday with a few things to change yet. It’s good to get a big bike victory around here.”
The race was red flagged on the fourth lap when Lee Vernon from Stoke-on-Trent crashed heavily in the Rock Cross area and was rushed to hospital.
In the combined 125 Supertwin and Supersport 400cc races Ryan Farquhar romped to an 11.5 second victory over his KMR team mate Jamie Hamilton with Adrian Archibald in third position.
William Dunlop started at the back of the 125GP grid after a poor qualifying run, but by the end of the first lap he was in the lead and although he lost the advantage on lap two to Sam Wilson the Ballymoney rider was back in front on lap three.
The race was stopped on lap four when Paul Jordan crashed at Cochranstown, suffering a suspected broken leg.
The result was taken from lap three giving Dunlop his fifth UGP victory with Wilson second and Ollie Linsdell third.
Lisbellaw rider Lee Johnston raced to a tremendous double on his Dundrod debut, winning both the National and Challenge races.
He set a new class lap record riding a 600cc East Coast Honda to a four second National win from Dean Harrison and Russ Mountford, switching to the Millsport Ducati Panagale for his Challenge race victory, two seconds ahead of Rob Barber and Harrison.
Meanwhile, in yesterday’s final qualifying sessions Michael Dunlop set the circuit alight with a speed of 132.021mph, the fastest of the day, in the Superstock class on his way to pole position for the opening race of tomorrow’s McKinstry Skip Hire 90th Anniversary Ulster Grand Prix.
Dunlop was 3.3secs faster than Kiwi Bruce Anstey with Guy Martin and Stephen Thompson completing the four-man front row.
Earlier Martin had set his stall out for tomorrow’s two Superbike races by taking pole position with a lap of 131.706mph, two 10ths of a second ahead of arch rival Michael Dunlop with William Dunlop in third, the front row completed by late entry Gary Johnson.
English rider John Tattersall crashed at Dawsons Bend. He was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg and ankle.
William Dunlop came with a late surge to take pole position for the Supersport races a full second clear of Johnson, Michael Dunlop and Anstey.
Ryan Farquhar set the pace in the Supertwin class 3.3secs ahead of Ollie Linsdell as he chases a unique treble having won the class at the North West 200 and TT.