Glenn Irwin put down a marker as the British Superbike rider produced a scorching 100mph lap to seal pole at the JAS Finlay Sunflower Trophy meeting.
Irwin, riding the PBM Be Wiser Ducati, dipped inside Danny Buchan’s lap record with a dominant display on home soil.
The 26-year-old Carrick man lapped in 1m 05.217 seconds (100.685mph) as he nailed pole by almost eight tenths from fellow British Superbike big gun Christian Iddon, who is making his debut at Bishopscourt on the Tyco BMW.
Essex rider Buchan, who is targeting a third successive win the feature Sunflower race, was third quickest on the MSS Kawasaki, 1.1 seconds back on Irwin.
Castledawson’s Nico Mawhinney impressed in fourth on the Team Polaris Kawasaki as he ended the day as the leading domestic rider.
Behind the top four, a trio of Gearlink Kawasaki riders were next with James East on the ZX-10R Superbike followed by Andrew Irwin, who was the quickest Supersport rider, and Lisburn’s Carl Philips in seventh.
Irish championship regulars Nikki Coates (KP Kawasaki), Robert English (IFS Yamaha) and Cody Nally (Kawasaki) completed the top ten.
EHA Racing duo David Allingham and Ross Twyman were 11th and 12th respectively on their British championship Yamaha Supersport machines, with David Haire in 13th on his own Yamaha R6.
Andrew Irwin topped the Supersport qualifying times by six tenths from Jason Lynn (Walter Bell Suzuki), with Robert Kennedy (Yamaha), Eglinton’s Allingham, Phillips and Luke Johnston from Ahoghill the first six.
In the Supertwins class, Robert Kennedy topped the times on the McKnight Suzuki from Paul McClung and Christian Elkin, while David Haire, who is riding for Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki team, was fifth fastest behind Mark Hanna, who is making his racing return following a serious crash at the Bush Road Races a few years back.
Richard Kerr (North West Racing KTM) led the Moto3 (GP125) leaderboard from Christian Elkin on Bob Wylie’s Honda, while Robert Kennedy was the leading 125cc rider in third.
Morning warm-up commences at 9am followed by a 14-race programme, with the feature Sunflower Trophy race (12 laps) due after the lunch break.