Peter Hickman dominates opening qualifying for Ulster GP

2019 Ulster GP

Qualifying Times / Report

Smith’s BMW Peter Hickman continues to show peerless form as the 32-year-old came straight from the podium form displayed last weekend in British Superbike competition at Thruxton, to the ultra-fast Dundrod Circuit where he immediately dropped in a 131.237 mph to dominate the opening qualifying session in Northern Ireland overnight. 

Last year’s Ulster Grand Prix treble-crown winner was the only rider who broke through the 130mph barrier in a session that was brought to an end nine minutes early because of a heavy rain shower.

Hickman was 4.763 seconds faster than Conor Cummins (Milenco Padgett’s Honda). Davey Todd was third fastest just 0.846 seconds further back.

“My plan was to go and do a steady lap, put in two fliers and then come in and that’s what we did.” Hickman explained after setting his quickest time on his third circuit.

Hickman made a lengthy pit stop after the third lap to lower his S1000RR’s gearing but failed to improve his time as the conditions worsened. Cummins also set his fastest speed during the opening laps, lapping at 128.229mph on his second circuit.

“It was slippery on the approach there after the second lap.” Cummins said.

Ulster GP QP Cummins
Conor Cummins

All of the fastest riders pitted after three laps when rain began to wet the road on the Leathemstown section of the course. Only three of the top ten quickest men went faster when they rejoined the fray from the pits with Davey Todd (Wepol Penz/BMW) lapping at 127.709mph and Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing BMW) at 127.395mph to slot into third and fourth.

Dundrod lap record holder Dean Harrison (Silicone Kawasaki) was fifth fastest, just a 1/100th of a second behind Johnston.

“We were steady away but it was drizzling all the time at different places I wasn’t sure of the line.” Harrison said.

Derek Sheils (RK Racing/Burrows Suzuki) and Paul Jordan (Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki) posted 6th and 7th fastest times. Sheils was well down on the speed trap times at 184 mph compared to Dean Harrison’s fastest mark 196.9 mph on the Flying Kilo. Hickman’s BMW was also 4.5mph slower than the Silicone Kawasaki.

Michael Dunlop posted 8th quickest time on the Tyco BMW after a lengthy pit stop, 7.3 seconds slower than Hickman.

Ulster GP QP Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop

South Australia’s David Johnson (Honda Racing) clocked a 125.368mph lap and Jamie Coward (Prez Yamaha) 124.683mph completing the top ten.

The first races on the road based Dundrod Circuit took place in 1922 and in 1935 and 1948 the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme gave it the title ‘Grand Prix d’Europe’. The Ulster Grand Prix was included as one of the races in the inaugural 1949 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season (which we now know as MotoGP), a place it held until 1971. The Ulster GP also counted towards the Formula TT Championship between 1979 and 1990. 

2019 Ulster GP
Wednesday Superbike Qualifying

  1. Peter HICKMAN BMW 3:23.022 / 131.237mph
  2. Conor CUMMINS Honda 3:27.785 / 128.229mph
  3. Davey TODD BMW 3:28.631 / 127.709mph
  4. Lee JOHNSTON BMW 3:29.145 / 127.395 mph
  5. Dean HARRISON Kawasaki 3:29.157 / 127.387 mph
  6. Derek SHEILS Suzuki 3:29.680 / 127.070mph
  7. Paul JORDAN Kawasaki 3:30.108 / 126.811mph
  8. Michael DUNLOP BMW 3:30.340 / 126.671mph
  9. David JOHNSON Honda 3:32.526 / 125.368mph
  10. Jamie COWARD Yamaha 3:33.693 / 124.683mph
  11. Phillip CROWE BMW 3:33.767 / 124.640mph
  12. Michael SWEENEY BMW 3:33.980 / 124.516mph
  13. Sam WEST BMW 3:34.300 / 124.330mph
  14. Brian McCORMACK BMW 3:34.304 / 124.328mph
  15. David JACKSON BMW 3:34.446 / 124.246mph
  16. Dominic HERBERTSON Kawasaki 3:36.000 / 123.352mph
  17. Ryan KNEEN BMW 3:36.792 / 122.901mph
  18. Shaun ANDERSON BMW 3:38.527 / 121.925mph
  19. Xavier DENIS Honda 3:39.867 / 121.182mph
  20. Josh DALEY Kawasaki 3:40.500 / 120.834mph

NB: Dean Harrison’s lap record of 3 minutes 17.928 seconds / 134.614 mph was set in 2017


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