William Dunlop heads up Yamaha TT effort

William Dunlop

William Dunlop

  • by Kyle White

William Dunlop will confirm his plans to compete on Yamaha machinery in 2013 at the Motorcycle Live Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

The 27-year-old has agreed a deal with British Superbike team boss Shaun Muir that includes the opportunity to contest the British Supersport Championship in addition to the international road races, News Letter Sport can reveal.

Dunlop, who parted company in an amicable separation from Wilson Craig’s Honda team after a highly successful two-year partnership, will ride the Yamaha machines used by Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson this year.

‘Hutchy’ was ruled out of the 2013 season following further surgery on his badly damaged left leg, an injury he suffered initially following a crash in the penultimate round of the British Supersport Championship at Silverstone at the end of his record-breaking roads campaign in 2010 - a year when the Bingley rider made history with a clean sweep of all five races at the Isle of Man TT.

Ballymoney man Dunlop will compete in the Superbike, Supersport and Superstock classes at the North West 200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix for Muir.

It is also understood that Dunlop may have the opportunity to enter selected National road race meetings.

Muir, whose Yamaha outfit lifted the British Superbike crown with Tommy Hill in 2011, will also reveal a two-man BSB line-up plus a new overall title sponsor for the team to replace Swan.

At present, Dunlop is the team’s sole roads rider, although Manx ace Conor Cummins has been linked with the team as uncertainty continues over whether or not he will join Guy Martin and Josh Brookes in Ulster’s Tyco Suzuki colours next year.

Dunlop previously told the News Letter he believes he can hold his own in the highly competitive British Supersport series and although he is determined to prove he can cut it at the highest level in England, his top priority remains the TT.

This year, he claimed his maiden four-stroke victory at the North West 200 in the opening Supersport race and followed it up with another 600cc success at Dundrod in August to give Co Londonderry team owner Craig his first wins on the big stage.

Dunlop also topped the times during practice for the Supersport class at the TT and finished on the podium for the first time at the event in the opening race before retiring in race two.

The Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike he will ride next year is an ex-factory World Superbike machine from 2010, when Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri led Yamaha’s challenge in the series.




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