Michael Dunlop Signs with Suzuki
The 13-time TT winner has created much talk in the paddocks in the past few years, most notable in 2015 when he signed with Milwaukee Yamaha. Due to poor performances during practice week aboard the YZF-R1, Dunlop made a dramatic move; the 27-year-old Northern Irishman left the team and rejoined the BuildBase BMW team for race week.
Dunlop, the nephew of the late Joey Dunlop who holds the TT victory record with 26, heads into 2017 as the record holder; at the 2016 IOM TT RST Superbike race, Dunlop set a new outright lap record of 133.393mph.
Dunlop has impressed on different machinery, claiming wins on an S 1000 RR (5), Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (3), Honda CBR600RR (3) and YZF-R6 (2). He should have no trouble adapting to the all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000, which we recently tested at Phillip Island.
Besides the TT, Dunlop will also compete aboard GSX-R1000 machinery at the North West 200, the Southern 100, the Ulster Grand Prix and the Donington Park round of the MCE British Superbike Championship.
“I was chatting with Steve [Hicken – team manager] for a while, and obviously we’ve worked together a lot before,” Michael Dunlop says. “With the new bike coming it’s been a bit different and we had to gather up exactly what was happening. We just needed to see what was going to be able to happen and to see where we were both going to be at this time.
“I know Steve and I know Stuart though, as people, and I know they can take a new bike and get it right. This is a good team and there’s a good link with Yoshimura. It’s going to be interesting this year. I’ve been helping the team build my own bikes and it’ll be good to have a run around at Mallory for a shakedown before we go to Spain.”
Bennetts Suzuki team manager Steve Hicken says “We’ve known Michael for a long time and always wanted to work with him again this year, so we’re really pleased we’ve been able to put a deal together. We’ve made good progress already with the development of the new GSX-R1000, and we know the potential is there with the bike. With a proven winner like Michael onboard, there’s no reason we can’t be winning races right away. That’s got to be the aim.”
Dunlop will get his first shakedown of the GSX-R1000 at Mallory Park Wednesday, before heading to Spain for tests at Cartagena and Almeria.