Published Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Michael Dunlop in action at the North West 200, during the Superbikes session. (© Pacemaker)
The Honda TT Legends rider topped the table after pushing his bike to over 118mph on Tuesday.
Dunlop's lap time of 4:33.173 saw him lead over second fastest Bruce Anstey, with the Kiwi trailing 7.615secs slower.
"When you're that far in front, there's something not right ..." Dunlop considered afterwards.
William Dunlop was 10.592secs behind his brother and fifth fastest with his time of 4:43.765 - right behind Australian BSB star Josh Brookes (4:43.580) who is making his North West 200 debut.
But for a man making a first appearance on the circuit, he certainly fared well.
'Station Corner was very intimidating and I did struggle with finding my braking markers," Brookes told the North West 200 website.
"But I spent two laps out on track with William Dunlop and I'm learning all the time."
On those opening laps, I was thinking: 'Jeez, what have I let myself in for here?'
Scottish rider Stuart Easton, returning to the circuit after the 2011 horror crash he was lucky to survive, was further down the pack with his time of 4:55.728.
When it came to the Supersports, it was Morecambe's John McGuinness who led the way with his lap of 4:48.334.
He was closely followed by Anstey (4:49.651) and Lincolnshire man Guy Martin (4:50.289).
William Dunlop was fourth fastest and just 2.162secs behind the leader, while brother Michael was sixth and trailed McGuinness by just 3.813secs.
On the Superstocks, Carrick's Alistair Seeley was the man to catch with his fastest lap of 4:33.555.
Less than two seconds separated him from Michael Dunlop (4:35.441), while McGuinness (4:35.556) was third fastest.
"If all the rest of the bikes had kept going, I'm sure I'd have been at the sharp end in [the other]classes too," Seeley said, having suffered a loss of power in the Superbikes and a hole in his radiator in the Supersports.
"We will be up against it now - especially trying to get the Superbike set up."
Belfast man and ex-Moto GP rider Jeremy McWilliams led Tuesday's Supertwins session, with a fastest lap of 5:08.195.
He was closely followed by Michael Rutter (just 0.162secs slower with a lap of 5:08.357) and William Davison (5:09.727).
"Today gave me more confidence and I know that I can go faster," McWilliams promised.
© UTV News