Michael Dunlop hammered home his point in emphatic fashion as the Ulster star rocketed to an historic Superbike victory for BMW at the Isle of Man TT on Saturday.
The 25-year-old was involved in a much-publicised split from Honda last year and many felt his switch to the German manufacturer would ultimately backfire, but Dunlop proved otherwise as he celebrated his eighth TT win after a dominant performance on the factory-supported S1000RR.
In glorious sunshine, Dunlop stormed into the lead on the opening lap of six and established a commanding advantage which he controlled to the finish, crossing the line to win by 20.5 seconds from Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin with Manx rider Conor Cummins (Honda Racing) in third.
It was BMW’s first victory in a ‘big bike’ race at the TT since Georg Meier won the 1939 Senior and Dunlop answered his doubters in style.
“People thought I was mad leaving Honda and going to BMW on a bike that was never proven around the TT; well I think we’ve proved it,” said Dunlop, who switched back to Dunlop tyres on Thursday after using Metzeler rubber this season.
“The bike is capable of doing what it needs to do and the BMW is fantastic. It’s a great package and there’s still a lot to come from the bike and I’m happy to be here. It was 75 years since BMW last won so it’s a nice present for the museum.
“The engines have been perfect and fair play to the boys, they did a fantastic job.”
Dunlop broke John McGuinness’s 2013 lap record from a standing start, blazing a trail around the Mountain Course to set a new 130.730mph standard. He went even faster on lap two, raising the record to 130.890mph on his ‘slowing down’ lap as he came into the pits.
However, Kiwi Bruce Anstey – who lost vital ground on the opening lap after running on at The Nook – became the first rider in TT history to lap at 132mph as he clinched the outright lap record with a speed of 132.298mph on his sixth and final lap.
Anstey hauled himself into fourth, with Bathams BMW rider Michael Rutter and William Dunlop on the Tyco Suzuki completing the top six.
John McGuinness could only manage seventh on the Honda Racing Fireblade as he continues to feel the effects of a wrist injury.
William Dunlop set his best TT lap of 130.239mph to overhaul McGuinness for sixth by 0.89 seconds on the last lap.
Dainese Superbike Race (6 laps):
1 M Dunlop (BMW Motorrad) 128.415mph; 2 G Martin (Tyco Suzuki) 128.000mph; 3 C Cummins (Honda Racing) 127.940mph; 4 B Anstey (Valvoline/Padgett’s Honda) 127.504mph; 5 M Rutter (Bathams BMW) 127.176mph; 6 W Dunlop (Tyco Suzuki) 126.982mph; 7 J McGuinness (Honda Racing) 126.966mph; 8 D Harrison (RC Express Kawasaki) 126.160mph; 9 J Hillier (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) 125.674mph; 10 J Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 125.660mph; 11 D Kneen (Cookstown BE Suzuki) 125.360mph; 12 D Johnson (PR Kawasaki) 124.437mph; 13 L Johnston (East Coast/Pirtek Honda) 124.404mph; 14 P Hickman (Ice Valley BMW) 122.402mph; 15 D Stewart (SMT Honda) 121.074mph.