William Dunlop has confirmed that he will ride a top-spec Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike in 2016 for Ulster team CD Racing.
Dunlop, who parted company from TAS Racing at the beginning of October, rode a trick Supersport Yamaha for Chris Dowd and Ivan Curran this year and will again compete on the YZF-R6 plus a new R1 next season, both prepared to the highest standards by former Yamaha World Superbike engineer Marcus Eschenbacher.
The 30-year-old from Ballymoney, who was ruled out of the Isle of Man TT following a crash during a practice lap at Laurel Bank, said he was delighted to be working full-time with Dowd’s team next year, which felt ‘like a second family’.
“I know this story was printed a few weeks past, but it wasn’t a done deal then. It is now and we were waiting on a few things coming together and now everything’s agreed,” said Dunlop.
“I am really happy to be riding for the CD/IC racing team run by Chris Dowd. As most already know, Chris is someone I have rode for before, mainly in the 600 class where we have had a lot of success. Now the team have decided to run with me in all classes, including the Superbike.
“We are keeping the R6 built by Marcus and his guys. Chris has everything in place for them to build us a brand new R1,” he added.
“I can’t say how excited I am to be a part of this and to have their involvement with the Superbike along with Graham Irvine for my suspension. If anyone has a chance to make this bike work on the roads it is this team.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead in 2016 and also to enjoy my racing. I get on with everyone here and it feels like a second family to me.”
Dunlop, who won the Irish Superbike and Supersport roads titles this year, admitted this season had been a trying time for him after his crash at the TT, which came after a tumble in practice at the North West 200 left him struggling for fitness at the first big international race of the year.
“2015 was a difficult year for me with a combination of some bad luck and a few errors,” he said.
“I had success nationally winning the Irish Championships on the Supersport and Superbike. At the international road races there was a combination of bad luck and my own fault with a couple of crashes: one at the North West 200 where I fractured a handful of vertebrae in my back.
“Another came a couple of weeks later on the last day of practice at the Isle of man TT, which ended that event for me. I was lucky just to break one rib and now I’m glad to see the winter to get myself all good again for 2016,” said Dunlop, who finished fifth in the RST Superbike race on the Mountain Course prior to his crash.
Team owner Dowd confirmed that the popular Northern Ireland rider would have a full stable of Yamaha machines for the Supersport and Superbike classes, although Dunlop is set to switch to a different Superstock machine under the CD Racing banner.
“On behalf of CD/IC Racing we are happy to confirm that William Dunlop will ride for our team in 2016,” said Dowd.
“At his disposal he will have two 600cc Yamahas and a special Yamaha R1 Superbike, all built by renowned German engine tuner Marcus Eschenbacher. Plans for a Superstock are also underway and will be revealed in due course.”