TT2014: Michael Dunlop cements world number one status

Michael Dunlop celebrates winning the Superbike TT on the Motorrad Hawk BMW on the Isle of Man with his team
Michael Dunlop celebrates winning the Superbike TT on the Motorrad Hawk BMW on the Isle of Man with his team

Michael Dunlop proved once again why the Ulster rider is the current number one road racer in the world with a dazzling Superbike TT victory on Saturday.

His parting of ways from Honda at the end of the 2013 season and decision to team up with iconic German marque BMW to race a largely unproven Superbike around the Mountain Course left many believing the shock decision would come back to haunt the 25-year-old.

It seems Dunlop knew best.

The eight-time TT winner is sometimes controversial and often outspoken, but the Ballymoney man has proved time and again that he can walk the walk.

Dunlop only sat on his new factory-supported BMW Motorrad S1000RR Superbike on the Tuesday of race week at the North West 200 last month, but days later he won the feature race to serve notice of what may come at the TT.

He is still getting to know the bike and the potential is there for a very special performance in Friday’s Senior race, with Bruce Anstey already raising the outright lap record to a blistering 132.289mph.

“There’s a lot more to come,” was Dunlop’s assessment after he routed his adversaries with a two-lap blitz in the Dainese Superbike race, shattering John McGuinness’s 2013 lap record twice before Anstey later surpassed the 132mph mark.

It must be a worrying prospect for his rivals, with Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin admitting his runner-up finish behind Dunlop on Saturday was his absolute maximum peformance.

If Martin has nothing else to offer, it would seem only Anstey has the ability to seriously push Dunlop in the big finale later this week as the Northern Ireland star attempts to lift the Senior trophy for the first time.

There is so much to come beforehand though, and Dunlop starts Monday’s scheduled Supersport and Superstock races as a hot favourite to add to his burgeoning collection of TT trophies, which proudly adorn his mantelpiece at home.

Victory is never a foregone conclusion on the Mountain Course, but with Dunlop you always know what you’re going to get and it will take something special to halt his surge towards TT greatness.