FIRST PICTURES: Michael Dunlop tests new Tyco BMW at Kirkistown
Michael Dunlop has finally had the chance to test his new 2019 Tyco BMW S1000RR.
The Ballymoney man - who celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday - has made the most of the fine weather to clock up the laps at Bishopscourt and Kirkistown in Co. Down on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
These pictures, taken by Pacemaker Press, show the 18-time Isle of Man TT winner in his new 2019 livery on the S1000RR at Kirkistown on Thursday.
Dunlop was left on the back foot last year due to a lack of track time before the start of the international road racing season after agreeing a late deal to ride for Philip and Hector Neill’s team.
In February, he spoke of the need to be better prepared this season, saying: “A bit more track time will be a big help to us. I just need time on the bike and we were on the back foot a bit last year because I was late in doing a deal.
“This year, I’ve sorted a deal early for the first time but it’s been a bit of a double-edged sword because the bike is late in coming, but we’ll be all right.”
Speaking at the Kirkistown test, Tyco BMW boss Philip Neill said in a video update released by the team: "We've just started our testing for 2019 - a little bit later than what we expected to be fair - and we obviously didn't make the BSB test (at Silverstone), but the boys have been very busy at the workshop trying to prepare these new 2019 model S1000RRs.
"We took the decision to make sure that we were ready for the start of the new season on the new bike, rather than start the season on the older bike.
"I'm proud of the team because the Tyco BMW team are the first team anywhere globally to debut the new S1000RR on track outside of World Superbikes," he added.
"Fair play to the boys, they've worked hard, everything is positive, the sun has been shining for us in Northern Ireland and we look forward to seeing everyone at Silverstone next weekend."