Ian Hutchinson relying on the basics for Ulster challenge
Milwaukee Yamaha's Ian Hutchinson is ready to take the fight to Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix pre-race favourites Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop as he looks to resurrect his international road racing season after a somewhat disastrous North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Unlike the aforementioned events, the four-time Ulster Grand Prix winner and former Dundrod lap record holder is excited at the prospect of a return to his favourite circuit after four years in the wilderness – where he will be Milwaukee Yamaha's sole representative.
Having just returned from holidaying in Italy, where he toured on a Harley Davidson, followed by a few days on the beach in Ibiza with his girlfriend Rachel, Hutchy is delighted to announce that he will be bringing his R1 Yamaha British Superbike and Milwaukee Yamaha R6 Supersport machines to Dundrod in just over three weeks' time.
"I'm going to bring my British Superbike exactly how we race it in BSB, as we don't seem to have any problems with that bike," Hutchy explained.
"Dundrod is very much like a short circuit and I don't think Josh (Brookes) would go much faster on the FIM bike in BSB," he added, speaking of the former World Superbike specification R1 that he took to victory at Macau last year – but also gave his Milwaukee Yamaha team a bagfull of problems at the TT in June.
"Yes I came back on the FIM (specification) bike at Macau last year, won on it and loved it.
"I wanted to stay with it for the roads, but when the rules changed it all got mixed up and I ended up riding different bikes.
"I've got a good setting with the BSB bike and I want to keep a bit of continuity with it, so that's the best option for the Ulster," he explained.
There will also be changes to the Supersport machine that Hutchy rode at the North West and TT, in a bid to try and replicate that subliminal hat-trick on his last visit to Dundrod back in 2010.
"We've gone back to basics with it and will be running a kit ECU and some of the team's engines instead of the fancy stuff we had for the TT.
"William Dunlop and Conor Cummins went really well on that spec of bike last year at Dundrod," he said.
"I'm going to get a full day on it somewhere after Brands to get myself comfortable on the 600 again as we know it's capable of winning races," he added.
It's a huge opportunity for Hutchy to finish his international road racing season off on a high, but I had to ask what his realistic aspirations for the August event at Dundrod would be.
"I suppose a couple of podiums would be nice," he smiled.
Then his racing mentality kicked in and he added: "Of course the higher the step on the podium the better as I've really been looking forward to the Ulster as it's my favourite road race."
Both of Hutchinson's machines will be liveried in the vivid red of Milwaukee Yamaha, and what an exciting prospect it promises to be as the eight-time TT winner goes head-to-head with 11-time TT winner Michael Dunlop and last year's treble winner at the Ulster, Guy Martin.