William Dunlop targets maiden North West 200 Superbike victory

William Dunlop with his 2014 Tyco Suzuki
William Dunlop with his 2014 Tyco Suzuki

New Tyco Suzuki signing William Dunlop believes he can break his Superbike duck at the Vauxhall International North West 200 this year.

Dunlop has previously basked in the victory glow at his home race following a popular triumph in the Supersport class in 2012 - his third win at the North West 200 after the 28-year-old bagged a 125cc and 250cc double in 2009.

His ability on the smaller two-stroke and 600cc machines is unquestioned, but Dunlop - a triple Supersport race winner at the Ulster Grand Prix and a rostrum finisher in the class at the TT in 2012 and 2013 - is beginning to emerge as a major player in the top flight Superbike division.

At Dundrod last August, the Ballymoney man finished on the podium in third place in the feature Ulster Grand Prix Superbike race behind brother Michael and hat-trick hero Guy Martin.

He also appeared on course to secure the runner-up spot in race two until a problem with his Milwaukee Yamaha R1 forced him to pull out on the final lap of the race.

Dunlop, who clocked a 130mph standing start lap of the Isle of Man TT course in the Senior last year, has been making steely progress in the blue riband category and with the expertise of Ulster’s TAS Racing team behind him this season, a landmark year could be on the cards for the elder of the Dunlop brothers in 2014.

“The Superbike races are the ones to win and I want to prove to people that I can win on a big bike as well as a 600,” said Dunlop, who is riding a third different Superbike in as many years following a two-year stint on Wilson Craig’s Honda before his switch to Shaun Muir’s Yamaha outfit in 2013.

“The TAS Suzukis have always been good around the North West with Bruce Anstey and Alastair Seeley and it’s a big event for the Tyco team, so I want to win a Superbike race this year.

“I raced against Guy Martin at the Ulster Grand Prix last year and his GSX-R was as fast as my Yamaha R1,” he added.

“The Suzukis are as fast as anything out there and by the time I get to the North West I’ll have done plenty of testing and we’ll have the bike well set up and ready to go.

“The North West will be my first international race of 2014 on the new bikes and I’m training hard in the gym to be ready.”

Dunlop will compete in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes at the North West 200 alongside his Tyco Suzuki team-mate Guy Martin.