William Dunlop completed a Yamaha Superbike test last week at Oschersleben in Germany, News Letter Sport understands.
Dunlop rode this season in the red and white Milwaukee Yamaha colours for Shaun Muir’s team but the YZF-R1 he put through its paces in the end-of-season shakedown was prepared by respected engine tuner Marcus Eschenbacher, who is Northern Ireland star Eugene Laverty’s crew chief in the factory Aprilia World Superbike team.
Eschenbacher, who was in Cal Crutchlow’s corner when the MotoGP rider lifted the World Supersport crown on a Yamaha R6 in 2009, also built the engine Dunlop used this year on the Chris Dowd/Ivan Curran 600, which he took to victory in the second Supersport race at the Ulster Grand Prix.
The 28-year-old - who also finished on the rostrum in the 600cc class at the Isle of Man TT - looks poised to run under the CD Racing banner next year, with a second term in Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha outfit now seeming unlikely.
Team boss Dowd, who has secured an MSS Kawasaki Superbike for Irishman Derek Sheils next year, is understood to have made the trip to the German circuit with Dunlop at the end of last week.