Cummins, on the Team of Paris AIM Racing Yamaha 1000, at only his second appearance at the event, chopped over four seconds off his best lap time in Thursday’s opening qualifying session to grab pole position for the 15-lap race, slicing just under a tenth of a second off the existing record.
Michael Rutter, the 35-year-old six-time winner of the event, was only second fastest on the Discover Ireland NW200 Ducati 1200, just under half a second slower than his young rival.
“I had some problems with slower riders but that did not delay me too much and I used race tyres instead of qualifying rubber so I am happy enough with my times,” said Rutter, who is aiming to take a record-breaking seventh victory in the event.
Australian Cameron Donald (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) was third fastest, just five hundredths of a second slower than Rutter.
The final few minutes of the session produced some dramatic shuffling of the leaderboard, and John McGuinness (Ventaxia UK Honda 1000) and fifth quickest, Ian Hutchinson (AVIVA Kawasaki 1000) were all vying for a top three spot in the final minutes.
Less than one second covered all five at the end of the session.
Keith Amor (AIM Racing Yamaha) forgot to tell his pit crew he had damaged an engine in Thursday’s qualifying so ran the full timed session on three cylinders, but was still quick enough to set fastest time in the Supersport 600 class.
Rico Penzkofer (IGT-Yamaha Austria Racing), who finished second in the class last year, was second fastest by just eight hundredths of a second.
Dan Linfoot (Rob Mac Racing Yamaha), the 20-year-old Yorkshire newcomer, was third best in the class, almost three seconds slower than the German.