Michael Dunlop intends to make amends at the 92nd Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix next month after old rival Guy Martin stole the show at Dundrod last season.
The Tyco Suzuki rider clinched a treble at the world’s fastest road race as he won both Superbike events on the GSXR-1000 and added a win in the Supersport class.
Dunlop, though, is determined to turn the tables on Martin after confirming at Tuesday’s official launch of the legendary road race in Belfast that he will have the use of a factory-prepared BMW S1000RR Superbike for the ‘Prix’ in addition to his own MD Racing BMW Superstock and 600cc Honda machines.
The six-time UGP winner said: “This will be all-new territory for the BMW. It’s never been round this track before and we’ve been doing plenty of work on all the bikes to have them as ready as we can. We will just have to see how things go, but there’s no reason we can’t get a good result in every class.”
On the potential for a new world record 134mph lap, Dunlop wasn’t prepared to make any bold predictions, saying: “There are a lot of factors. It depends on the wind as much as the rain, and while the BMW is a quick bike you just don’t know until the day.”
The 25-year-old is the hottest property in road racing right now following his historic second successive four-timer at the Isle of Man TT races last month, which included wins in the Superbike, Senior and Superstock race for the German manufacturer.
He was joined yesterday at the launch on board the SS Nomadic in the Titanic Quarter by his brother and Tyco Suzuki rider William, plus Wilson Craig Honda’s Jamie Hamilton, Dean Harrison (RC Express/Mar-Train Racing), Stephen Thompson (Bathams BMW), Dan Kneen (Cookstown B.E. Racing) and Isle of Man TT revelation Peter Hickman, who became the fastest ever newcomer this year with a blistering 129mph lap.
Hickman will make his Dundrod bow for Paul Shoesmith’s Ice Valley BMW team and Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston is thrilled by the quality of the line-up.
“Man of the moment Michael Dunlop will be there while Guy Martin, William Dunlop, Gary Johnson and Bruce Anstey will be out in force once again,” he said.
“The depth of talent in each class is stronger than ever as we see a new generation of racers coming through. Dan Kneen has been a sensation on the Irish national scene this year, winning races on tracks he’s never even seen before, while Dean Harrison is another star in the making after his Lightweight TT victory.
“I’ve spoken to Peter [Hickman] and he’s looking forward to the chance to be the fastest ever newcomer at the world’s fastest road race.”
The News Letter is the print media partner of the Ulster Grand Prix, which takes place from August 11-16.