William Dunlop has parted company from Tyco BMW after two seasons in a ‘mutual agreement’.
Dunlop is set to take on a new challenge in 2016, when he is expected to renew a full-time partnership with loyal backer and Randalstown businessman Chris Dowd of CD Racing in a deal that will see him ride a Yamaha YZF-R1 prepared by former Yamaha World Superbike team engineer Marcus Eschenbacher.
Dunlop will also continue to ride the Yamaha R6 on which he went through the 2015 Irish National roads season unbeaten as he clinched the Supersport title.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Dunlop said: “Philip and all the boys at Tyco BMW were very good to me, so first of all I’d like to thank them for making me feel very welcome. I really enjoyed my two years with the team.
“I’d also like to thank Tyco, BMW Motorrad and Metzeler tyres for their support, which also helped me clinch this year’s Irish Superbike title.”
Team manager Philip Neill hailed the 30-year-old Ballymoney rider as a ‘great ambassador’ for the team over the past two seasons.
“William has been a great ambassador for us this past two years and on a personal note, I have really enjoyed working with him,” said Neill.
“I have spoken to William at length and we have agreed mutually to go our separate ways for 2016, but the door has certainly not been closed. There’s every chance he could return in the future and of course everyone at Tyco BMW wishes him well.”
Multiple North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix winner Dunlop rode alongside Guy Martin for the past two years in the team.
Martin was injured in a crash at Dundrod in August and his plans for next year remain uncertain, although his place in the Tyco BMW team is assured.
Dunlop won his maiden international Superbike race with the Moneymore-based outfit on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 at the North West 200 in May 2014.