TT 2015: Superbike Sunday gifts Michael Dunlop timely reprieve

Michael Dunlop on the Hawk Racing Buildbase BMW during TT practice on Friday at The Gooseneck
Michael Dunlop on the Hawk Racing Buildbase BMW during TT practice on Friday at The Gooseneck

The postponement of the RST Superbike Race at the Isle of Man TT until Sunday has bought Michael Dunlop some critical set-up time following his eleventh hour switch to the Hawk Racing Buildbase BMW.

The 11-times Mountain Course winner sent shockwaves through the TT paddock on Thursday after ditching the new Milwaukee Yamaha R1 in favour of a return to the S1000RR.

Dunlop completed his first laps on the Buildbase BMW Superbike machine on Friday night on the Mountain Course and set the second fastest lap at 128.636mph behind Bruce Anstey, who topped the times at 129.394mph.

The potential for winds gusting at up to 60mph on Saturday forced TT Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson to postpone the RST Superbike event by a day, with a scheduled start time of 2pm.

A revised timetable on Saturday incorporates additional untimed practice for the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes from 10.40am, providing Dunlop with some vital extra time to fine-tune the Buildbase BMW.

The 26-year-old’s split from Shaun Muir’s team half-way through TT practice week drew praise and criticism in equal measure, but Dunlop’s uncompromising approach hasn’t alienated GBmoto Kawasaki team principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen, who said he would jump at the chance to work with the Ulsterman in 2016 after going close to signing Dunlop this season.

“Michael and his boys know what it takes to win and whatever he sits on, he’s going to be lapping at near lap record pace,” he said.

“We had positive talks with Michael last year that didn’t quite go the distance but if and when the chance comes up again, we’d be delighted to work with him.”