William Dunlop gets to grips with Tyco Suzuki in Spain

William Dunlop testing the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Cartagena in Spain
William Dunlop testing the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Cartagena in Spain

William Dunlop had his first taste of action on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike in Spain as the Ballymoney rider prepares for the onset of the 2014 road racing season.

Dunlop was joined by team-mate Guy Martin at Almeria before travelling to Cartagena for the Pro-Test organised each year by Barry Symmons.

The 28-year-old focused mainly on adapting to the GSX-R1000 Superbike in Spain following a season spent racing Yamaha machinery for Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee-backed outfit.

Dunlop, who has been training extensively throughout the winter months in preparation for the season ahead, has quickly gelled with the Tyco Suzuki Superbike that he hopes will fire him to his maiden international success in the blue riband class this year.

The North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix race winner also had the opportunity to ride the team’s GSX-R600 Supersport machine for the first time at Cartagena and it’s been a case of so far, so good for the quiet County Antrim lad.

“It’s been a good few days on the bikes and everything has went pretty well,” Dunlop told the News Letter. “The Suzuki seems to be a lot easier to ride than the Yamaha and it’s a nice bike to ride. It’ll be good to have the chance to compare them when we get to a road race.

“We were using an older-spec engine for testing but the power delivery seems more rider-friendly than I’ve been used to on other Superbikes.

“I had a run on the Supersport bike as well and although I maybe only did 15 laps or so, the bike felt really good and I enjoyed riding it.

“We still have a bit of work to do but overall it was good to get some time on all three bikes and I enjoyed being able to meet my new team-mates and crew in Spain.”

Dunlop joined up with the team’s British championship contenders at Cartagena, where British Superbike riders John Hopkins and Josh Waters were having their first outing of the year.

Taylor Mackenzie was also testing in Spain as he warms up for his second spell in the Moneymore team in the Supersport class. The young prospect suffered a big accident on day two of the test but was able to complete the final two days.

A number of leading BSB teams made the trip to Cartagena, including Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell, plus Jordanstown rider Andrew Reid, who will ride in the National Superstock 600 class this year.

Ian Hutchinson was also present on the FFX Yamaha as the Yorkshire star clocks up the miles before the opening MCE British Superbike round at Brands Hatch on April 21.

New PR Kawasaki signing Keith Farmer, plus Jakub Smrz on the Millsport Ducati and Mar-Train Racing riders Alastair Seeley and Dean Harrison also took the opportunity for some valuable warm weather testing.