Fired-up Dunlop taking Stock to prepare for TT bid
Ballymoney's William Dunlop is set to take in selected British 1000cc Superstock rounds in 2016 as part of his build-up to the International Road Racing campaign.
The 30-year-old will ride Kawasaki's all-new ZX-10R in a collaboration deal between Nick Morgan of MSS Performance and Northern Ireland based CD-IC Racing.
The reigning Irish Road Racing Superbike champion, who also lifted the Duke Rankings award for his efforts this season, believes the deal to ride the hugely anticipated evolution of Kawasaki's world-beating ZX-10R with Morgan's team should give him the sharpness he needs to arrive at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT in top form.
"If I'm really honest I wasn't too sure about doing British Superstock, but when I heard we had the option of running with Nick (Morgan) and got to understand the level of the whole package, I became really positive," said Dunlop, whose mainstay of racing in 2016 will be with well-known local sponsor Chris Dowd.
Along with Ivan Curran, the Randalstown businessman will run Dunlop on his preferred Yamaha R6 machinery in the Supersport class.
The Japanese 600cc machinery took the County Antrim ace to Irish championship success in 2015 and along with a specially built Yamaha YZF-R1M, which the team is set to purchase in the New Year, Dunlop's chances to record further glory look stronger than ever .
Having previously raced for Milwaukee Yamaha at British championship level prior to his international season, the quietly spoken racer fully understands the necessity to arrive at the TT in June on full song - if he wishes to be successful.
"I'm excited to be doing it properly with testing and some BSB rounds," said Dunlop of his new British championship deal with Morgan and the Colchester-based MSS team.
"It means that I'll be sharp for the TT, which is the most important aspect for me.
"I'm not sure what national road races I'll be doing in 2016 as the TT is the main focus until June."
Speaking of how the deal came about, Dunlop, who is set to use Metzeler tyres on the roads again in 2016, explained: "Chris Dowds of CD Racing sorted the deal and as we both know Nick and his guys have fantastic knowledge and data on the ZX-10R in this specification (they had championship success in 2014 with Essex lad Danny Buchan, who is now a regular top six performer in the British Superbike championship).
"It's been a long time since I've been in green and that was an old MSS ZX-6R, which was a great bike.
"I really like Jason Griffiths. As a former racer he really looks after me and that's why I think we will remain with Metzeler again next season."
Affable London man Morgan, who has enjoyed international road racing success in the past with Northern Irish riders Ryan Farquhar and Alastair Seeley, is now looking forward to working with Dunlop.
He firmly believes the mix of the new ZX-10R and a hand-picked Superstock campaign is the perfect ingredient for the Ballymoney racer.
"With the arrival of the new Kawasaki ZX-10R, 2016 is the perfect timing for the MSS Colchester Kawasaki Team to return to road racing with William Dunlop," said Morgan (pictured).
"We are looking forward to a full testing programme along with some wild card entries in Superstock 1000 in BSB with William, which I feel is essential to be competitive at all the major road events."