Isle of Man TT star Michael Dunlop says he is ‘genuinely sorry’ after splitting from Milwaukee Yamaha two days before the RST Superbike race to switch back BMW S1000RR machinery in a sensational development on Thursday.
Dunlop had been due to ride the all-new YZF-R1 but was well down the leaderboard during timed practice on Wednesday night, lapping at 125.519mph.
The 26-year-old, who won the Superbike, Superstock and Senior races at the TT last year, has joined Stuart Hicken’s Swadlincote-based Buildbase BMW team and will also ride his own MD Racing Honda in the Supersport class instead of a Yamaha R6.
Dunlop said: “I would like to thank Milwaukee Yamaha for their support in bringing me into their team and I am genuinely sorry to be making this decision but unfortunately I don’t think there is enough time left with the sessions we’ve already lost at the TT to be truly competitive and get the bike to the level we need to in order to win races here.”
A statement issued by the Milwaukee Yamaha team said: “Milwaukee Yamaha has today (Thursday), released Michael Dunlop from his contract with immediate effect.
“Milwaukee Yamaha its staff and sponsors have worked tirelessly to prepare a race winning package especially with the introduction of the new R1M. The development of the bike is advancing well testament to results on the short circuit worldwide.
“Despite having all the ingredients for TT success, rider, bike and team, Michael has taken the decision not to continue with the programme and for that reason we have released him from his contract.
“Milwaukee Yamaha will continue to focus on its MCE British Superbike Championship campaign.”
Dunlop faces a race against time to get the BMW up to speed with Thursday evening’s scheduled practice representing only the second timed qualifying so far.