Reigning North West 200 Superbike king Glenn Irwin cut a dejected figure on Tuesday as his struggles with the Quattro Plant Kawasaki continued in opening practice on the North coast.
The Carrickfergus man has reigned supreme in the blue riband class at the international road race over the past two years, winning three races on the spin on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati – including a famous double in 2018.
Irwin departed Paul Bird’s team and joined the British Superbike title-winning Kawasaki squad this year, which is managed by Jack Valentine.
However, he was far below his best in the opening two BSB rounds at Silverstone and Oulton Park and has yet to truly gel with the ZX-10RR.
The 29-year-old was seventh fastest in opening Superbike practice, four seconds off the pace of provisional pole man Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki).
A downbeat Irwin said he was searching for answers as he bids to get to grips with the Kawasaki.
“I feel like I’m riding around going to the shops but that’s the way it’s been all year,” he said.
“I don’t have the answers – it’s a combination of things.”
He was sixth in the Superstock session and fourth on his Kawasaki Supertwin.
Final qualifying takes place on Thursday (roads closed 9.15am-3pm) followed by the first three evening races, with roads closed from 5pm-9pm.