Practice times for the North West 200 on Thursday morning were considerably slower than two days earlier as a result of rain showers prior to roads closing.

In steadily drying conditions and temperatures nudging 20C in sheltered spots, Richard Cooper again topped the Supertwin class on the KMR Kawasaki, but 17 seconds slower than his Tuesday time.

He was 2.9s faster than Peter Hickman on his own PHR Yamaha, with Lee Johnston third quickest on the 660 Aprilia.

Gareth Arnold rode well to place 10th at 97.032mph, followed by Dave Madsen-Mygdal 12th and Marc Colvin 21st in what was his first session of the meeting.

With the sun out, the roads continued to dry and Hickman topped the Superstock standings at 117.477mph on the FHO Racing BMW, albeit 13s slower than Alastair Seeley’s fastest of the week in the class at 123.361mph on Tuesday morning.

Dean Harrison was second quickest on Thursday, with Seeley third and Manxman Conor Cummins fourth quickest on the Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles Honda.

Nathan Harrison was 10th quickest, edging out Honda team-mate John McGuinness by 2.6s. Ballaugh’s Anthony Redmond was 29th fastest.

The Supersport session was red-flagged after Lee Johnston crashed his Ashcourt Racing Yamaha at Church corner in  Portrush. He was flown to hospital in nearby Coleraine, but his condition was not said to be serious.

Davey Todd was fastest in that session from Cooper, Adam McLean and Dean Harrison with Jamie Williams of the Isle of Man 19th quickest.

Seeley will be on pole for that race this evening with his 116.751mph lap from Tuesday.

When practising continued later, Seeley leap-frogged to the top of the Superbike standings with a lap of 123.898mph on the Milwaukee BMW. Hickman ended up second at 123.041.

Dean Harrison was third quickest in that session at 122.713, but Dunlop’s 122.943 from Tuesday will put him third on the grid for the races.

Next quickest on Thursday behind Dunlop’s slightly slower 122.574mph lap on the Hawk Racing Honda were Todd 122.171, Josh Brookes 121.008, Glenn Irwin 121.909 and Ramsey Rocket Cummins at 121.612mph.

Racing will commence after 5 o’clock this evening with the first Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin events.

There will be a full day of racing on Saturday.