TT 2018: Michael Dunlop contemplating next move
'‹Michael Dunlop says he hopes to have his Superbike plans firmed up sooner rather than later as the 15-time Isle of Man TT winner contemplates his next move.
Dunlop decided against riding the Suzuki for Stuart and Steve Hicken’s Hawk Racing team this year after testing the GSX-R1000 earlier this month at Cartagena in Spain.
The 28-year-old, who won the Senior TT on the all-new Suzuki last year, is the last big name yet to put a Superbike deal together.
With less than two months to go until the international road racing season blasts off at the North West 200, Dunlop admits time is against him.
He has been heavily linked with Northern Ireland’s Tyco BMW squad and it is understood the door remains open, while the prospect of Dunlop running his own Superbike effort under his MD Racing banner has also been mooted.
However, speaking at the official launch of the Isle of Man TT on Wednesday, Dunlop told the News Letter he is still in the process of finalising a ride for the premier class.
“The long and short of it is that we’re going to have to try and sort something in a short space of time.
“I need to get on something and get out there, although we haven’t lost out too much in testing because the weather has just been so cold anyway.
“I’ve put a lot into my fitness this year and I’m lighter and fitter than I’ve ever been, so I feel good,” added the Ballymoney man.
“I’m going to the TT to try and win races and bring home more Senior TT trophies and we’ll be giving it a real good go.”
Meanwhile, Dunlop – who will run John McGuinness on one of his MD Racing Honda machines in the Supersport races at the TT – has joined Italian manufacturer Paton to compete in the Lightweight race this year on the S1-R machine.
“I’m riding the Paton this year and it’s something different to what we’ve done before,” he said.
“With Winston’s [McAdoo] bike, to be honest I didn’t really have enough time in the team to really give it a good go – you need someone working at the bike all the time to get the best out of it and we didn’t really have the time to do that.
“I spoke to Winston about it and to be fair to him he was happy enough, so we’re going a different way this year with the Paton and it should be a good job.”