Ulster GP: Michael Dunlop fired up for Dundrod showdown

Michael Dunlop on the MD Racing BMW at Armoy
Michael Dunlop on the MD Racing BMW at Armoy

Michael Dunlop is in bullish mood as the Northern Ireland road racing star aims to finish the major international season on a high at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old showed signs he is back to his best after sustaining injuries in crashes at the Isle of Man TT and Southern 100 by defeating key rival Guy Martin to win the feature ‘Race of Legends’ on his home patch at Armoy last weekend.

Dunlop also celebrated a Superbike victory at the Southern 100, where the Ballymoney man was riding a new-specification BMW S1000RR for the first time this season.

The 11-times Isle of Man TT winner hasn’t enjoyed the same level of success on the international stage in 2015 as he has managed in previous years, with a highly anticipated association with Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha team ending unceremoniously during TT practice week.

Dunlop didn’t feel confident in the capabilities of the new YZF-R1 Superbike and reverted back to BMW power with Stuart Hicken’s Hawk Racing Buildbase outfit, setting the second fastest ever TT lap in the Senior race at 132.515mph as he finished fifth.

The Ballymoney man has endured a tumultuous year, but Dunlop has a final opportunity at Dundrod next week to return to winning ways in the international arena and salvage an ultimately disappointing season.

“We had a good run at Armoy and hopefully we can carry that through to Dundrod. With a couple of weeks between it and the Ulster I’ll get some extra rest which will do me good,” Dunlop said.

“We’ll be ready, we just have to push on really and try to get a few wins. The Superbike is a brand new motorbike so I’ll have to get the head down and put some miles on it, but we’ll get it dialled in.

“We should go well in all of our classes and it’s a good circuit to ride. It’s a big fast track with plenty of fifth and sixth gear corners so we’re looking forward to getting out next week.”

Practice gets under way on Wednesday, August 5, with final qualifying and the Dundrod 150 meeting on Thursday, August 6, whetting the appetite for the showpiece Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix.