Red hot Glenn Irwin eyes four on the spin
Glenn Irwin has got his mojo back as the three-time North West 200 Superbike winner steels himself for today's 90th anniversary showpiece races on the North coast.
The British Superbike star was uncharacteristically despondent on Tuesday as he languished in seventh place on the Superbike timing charts, four seconds off the pace of English challenger Dean Harrison.
Carrickfergus man Irwin's three Superbike victories around the legendary 'Triangle' course were achieved on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, but the 29-year-old switched to different machinery for 2019 and was struggling to get to grips with his Quattro Plant/Wicked Coatings Kawasaki earlier in the week.
That all changed on Thursday. Irwin picked himself up and came flying out of the traps as he rediscovered his form in sensational style, unofficially blitzing Michael Dunlop's 2016 outright lap record to grab pole position with a speed of 123.362mph.
Tuesday frontrunner Harrison was only 0.206s behind on his Silicone Kawasaki, while 24-time race winner Alastair Seeley was also under Dunlop's record on the new PBM Be Wiser Ducati V4-R, just a further 0.071s behind Harrison.
Irwin has a spring back in his step and he suddenly looks a much stronger proposition to challenge for a fourth straight win in the blue riband class.
"All three bikes are going well and I'm on the front row on all of them. It's just really nice to be smiling again and I'm enjoying myself now," said Irwin, who is also riding in the Supertwin and Superstock classes at the North West for the first time this year.
"We've improved the Superbike but there are still steps to be made for Saturday's races.
"I think I could still pull another second on my time from Thursday so let's see, but things are very different from Tuesday and I'm back where I need to be."