Bruce Anstey was in classic form on the Valvoline Padgetts Honda as the fit-again Kiwi headed the Supersport session to bag pole for the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
Anstey, who was injured after a spill during practice for the Isle of Man TT, almost nudged 126mph as he fended off Ian Hutchinson on the Came BPT Yamaha to come out on top at Dundrod by 1.7 seconds.
With light rain beginning to fall, the session was halted after around 20 minutes due to an incident at Flow Bog.
Manx rider Conor Cummins put another of Clive Padgett’s Honda machines on the front row as he finished third fastest overall with a speed of 124.530mph.
Bradford’s Dean Harrison was fourth fastest on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki with a lap of 124mph, while the second row is completed by William Dunlop on the IC Racing Yamaha and Peter Hickman (Trooper Beer Kawasaki).
Michael Dunlop, dominant in the Superbike and Superstock sessions, qualified seventh on his MD Racing Yamaha ahead of Dan Kneen on the Mar-Train Yamaha. Paul Jordan from Magherafelt and Dan Cooper were the top ten.
Gary Johnson’s lap of 121.701mph would have been good enough for ninth place on the grid, but the Lincolnshire rider only managed three laps in all on the East Coast/Burdens Triumph and is listed as a non-qualifier.
Johnson has been drafted into Phil Reed’s team as a replacement for Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston, who has been ruled out with a broken collarbone after a crash during practice on Wednesday.