Michael Dunlop will be hoping to ramp up his preparations for the forthcoming international road racing season with the Ballymoney man set to join a host of his rivals on track at the upcoming official Bennetts British Superbike test at Silverstone.
On Wednesday, the opening test commences at Monteblanco in Spain and will run until Friday at the Spanish venue. A second test will take place at Portimao in Portugal on Sunday and Monday, March 17-18 before the final outing at Silverstone on April 9.
However, the Tyco BMW team is absent from the Monteblanco test due to the late arrival of the all-new BMW S1000RR, while the Smiths Racing team and Peter Hickman sat out the trip for the same reason.
Eighteen-time Isle of Man TT winner Dunlop will ride for the Tyco BMW team in the Superbike class this year. He will also run a BMW Superstock S1000RR and Supersport machine under his own MD Racing banner.
The Ulster rider won three races at the TT in 2018 to move onto 18 victories in total, making him the third most successful rider ever behind his uncle Joey (26 wins) and John McGuinness, who has 23.
Bradford’s Dean Harrison was on track at Monteblanco on Wednesday with Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Hillier and Gary Johnson (Lee Hardy Racing) also taking the chance to clock up some laps as the clock ticks down to the start of the major international roads season.
Fermanagh man Lee Johnston is also in attendance and ventured out for his first laps in the afternoon on his new-look Ashcourt Racing machines.
A host of Northern Ireland riders will also be in action at Monteblanco and Portimao, including BSB contenders Glenn Irwin (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) and his brother Andrew (Honda Racing), Josh Elliott (OMG Suzuki) and EHA Racing’s Alastair Seeley and David Allingham.