International road racing titans William Dunlop and Guy Martin will get to grips with their new Tyco BMW Motorrad machines this week during a pre-season shakedown at Almeria in Spain.
The duo will link up with British Superbike riders Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell plus Alastair Seeley, who will lead the Moneymore team’s charge in the National Superstock 1000 Championship this season and return once more to the North West 200 in May, where the Carrick rider will be confident of adding to his 12 wins around the 8.9-mile Triangle course.
All three short circuit riders participated in Barry Symmons’ Pro Test at Cartagena in Spain, which ended on Sunday.
The unofficial times were headed by Be Wiser Kawasaki’s Danny Buchan, who lapped in 1m 33.4s to lead the way from Luke Mossey (Quattro Plant Kawasaki), whose best time was 1m 33.5s, with James Ellison on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki third quickest in 1m 33.9s.
Bridewell was sixth fastest on the Tyco BMW S1000RR in 1m 34s with Michael Laverty eighth (1m 34.8s), one place ahead of PBM Kawasaki’s Ian Hutchinson, who also lapped in 1m 34.8s.
The times were provided by the teams at Cartagena and Toomebridge man Laverty completed the opening test feeling ‘reasonably happy’ after riding his new Superbike for the first time.
“I am reasonably happy after the first test. I had set the target of getting into the 1m 34s lap times and although we achieved that, it wasn’t as consistently as I would have liked,” he said.
“We have been working on getting a good feeling with the bike as standard and then added new parts into the mix, which was positive, but now we are waiting on the next parts to take it to the next level.
“We are in a good position and the team have worked really hard here with all the big changes we have been working through; we have been turning the bike inside out to see how it feels in different situations, and it will be a strong package for sure,” Laverty added.
“At Almeria we can continue with what we need to work through and hopefully with some new parts too. We are not a million miles away so hopefully we will then be all set for the official test at Donington Park [March 26].”
Broughton’s Gary Johnson was also in action at Cartagena as he gets to grips with the JG Speedfit GBmoto Kawasaki he will ride at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix this year.
The double TT winner, who won the opening Supersport race on the Mountain Course in 2014 on the Smiths Racing Triumph, has lost his ride in the middleweight class with the Gloucester outfit, with Guy Martin joining the team alongside Aussie David Johnson.
Smiths Racing took the unusual step of issuing a statement to clarify the circumstances surrounding Martin’s deal to ride the Triumph Daytona 675, claiming Johnson’s ‘drastically increased financial expectations’ had priced him out of the equation, paving the way for Martin to take up the ride.
Martin is set to make his roads debut for Tyco BMW at next month’s Spring Cup meeting at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, where the line-up also includes Mar-Train Racing’s Dean Harrison and Ivan Lintin on the RC Express Kawasaki machines.
Dunlop, meanwhile, will ride the S1000RR on the roads for the first time at the Cookstown 100.