Michael Dunlop has vowed to give the Lightweight race at this year’s Isle of Man TT races his full attention as targets a record six wins in a week.
Last June, Dunlop almost equalled the current benchmark of five solo TT victories in the same year held by Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson, who achieved the feat in 2010.
The Ballymoney rider won the opening Superbike event and went on to take a further victory in the Superstock class plus a Supersport double, matching Portadown man Phillip McCallen’s 1996 four-timer.
However, he was narrowly denied a fifth triumph in the blue riband Senior TT by his then Honda TT Legends team-mate John McGuinness, who earned his 20th success as Dunlop slotted into the runner-spot, only ten seconds in arrears after six pulsating laps of the 37.73-mile circuit.
The seven-time TT winner has signed for BMW Motorrad this season and will ride a factory-supported S1000RR for Stuart Hicken’s Hawk Racing team in the Superbike class in addition to a Superstock-spec BMW, which will be painted in his own MD Racing livery.
Dunlop will also run his own Supersport machine and has been confirmed for the Lightweight TT on the McAdoo Kawasaki Supertwin, giving him the opportunity to challenge for an unprecedented six wins at the TT this summer.
“It’s fair to say that I haven’t really given the Lightweight race my full attention in the past, but this year we are going all out to win this race and try and make it six wins from six starts,” said Dunlop, who sat out the race in 2013 to focus on the Senior.
“It’s a massive target, but that’s what we go racing for and McAdoo Racing has gone all out on building me a race-winning bike. I’m looking forward to the challenge and seeing if we can put one over on the established riders and teams in this class.”
The starting order for the Lightweight race, which takes place on the morning of Senior TT day on Friday, June 6, was confirmed on Friday, with Dunlop retaining number six.
Ivan Lintin will be the first rider to set off down the Glencrutchery Road at number one, with last year’s winner James Hillier following ten seconds behind on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki.
Ryan Farquhar, who won the inaugural Lightweight TT Supertwin race in 2012, will be next ahead of Guy Martin at number four, who is poised to make his debut in the class on a Kawasaki.
Michael Rutter (5), Gary Johnson on the Chinese WK Bikes machine (7) and Ballyclare man Jamie Hamilton (8) on Stewart Smith’s Kawasaki add strength in depth to the line-up along with Scottish rider Keith Amor, who has come out of retirement this season.
The 42-year-old will ride in Farquhar’s SGS International KMR Kawasaki livery and has been allocated the number nine plate, with Dan Cooper rounding out the top ten on a second WK Bikes machine.
Dean Harrison (12) is a leading contender on the RC Express Kawasaki after finishing as the runner-up in 2013, while Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston (13) - last year’s top TT Privateer - could emerge as a dark horse in the class.
Former Moto 3 and 125cc GP rider Danny Webb is entered on a third KMR Kawasaki machine at number 66 as the Kent rider makes his TT debut this year.