Tyco BMW’s Guy Martin left Kirkistown in a positive frame of mind on Thursday following his first test on the S1000RR Superbike ahead of Tuesday’s opening practice at the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Martin, who has yet to win around the 8.9-mile ‘Triangle’ course, joined team-mates William Dunlop and Alastair Seeley at the Co Down track, where the TAS Racing squad shared the venue with Milwaukee Yamaha’s Michael Dunlop, who tested his YZF-R1 Superbike and MD Racing Superstock and Supersport Yamaha machines.
The Lincolnshire rider is by far the biggest name in road racing, with his celebrity status taken to a new level after his hugely successful debut as a TV presenter in BBC show The Boat That Guy Built was followed by a series of Channel 4 programmes, including How Britain Works, Speed and Our Guy In India.
Martin is among the hot favourites to take over as part of a new line-up on hit show Top Gear alongside model Jodie Kidd and actor Philip Glenister following the departure of Jeremy Clarkson.
In the interim, he remains focused on his racing for now at least after the 33-year-old told his local newspaper, The Scunthorpe Telegraph, that this year’s Isle of Man TT will be his last appearance at the event.
The revelation may also mean that Martin could be lining up for the final time at the North West 200 next week.
Following his first outing on the new BMW S1000RR Superbike at Kirkistown, Martin said: “That’s the first time the Superbike has turned a wheel – it’s a handful! It’s a little bit here and a little bit there at the moment.
“Everything we have done today has made a difference and we are not a million miles away now.”
Martin heads into the North West in fine form following a double on his Superstock machine at the Cookstown 100 last month.
Meanwhile, Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea headed the World Superbike free practice times at Imola in Italy on Friday by 0.173s from team-mate Tom Sykes, with Davide Giugliano (Ducati) third fastest.