Ulster bike fans are in for a treat during July on the national road racing scene, with William Dunlop now confirmed to be riding his Milwaukee Yamaha, factory R1 Superbike at the likes of Skerries, Walderstown and possibly Armoy.
Dunlop scorched to a 130mph standing start lap during the Senior TT earlier this month, aboard the factory machine, rumoured to be Ben Spies’ World Superbike Championship winning bike from 2009.
The YZF-R1 Yamaha is a missile of a machine, but notoriously difficult to set-up, as Conor Cummins found to his cost at this year’s TT.
But Dunlop has been praised by Milwaukee Yamaha team owner Shaun Muir for ‘pushing back his shoulders’ and putting in a big effort — with the Guisborough businessman fully committed to taking the affable Ballymoney kid to a Superbike victory at the Ulster Grand Prix in August.
“It’s great to see William with fire in his belly and I really believe we have a fantastic chance for honours at the Ulster Grand Prix,” explained Muir, who also outlined his road racing plans for the weeks ahead.
“We will take the Superbike and Supersport machines to the Ulster Grand Prix but not the Superstock bikes,” he said candidly.
“We are also looking at a number of tests for both riders in the UK, possibly including Castle Combe, and with regards to the Irish roads: we are yet undecided which two out of three we will do with William.
“The bottom line is, we must see some benefit from them.”
On the flip side, the Milwaukee Yamaha team has ruled out a full assault on this year’s Southern 100 in July, which leaves Manxman Cummins on the sidelines at his home event.
William Dunlop|(pictured) will attend The Southern on the CD Racing R6 Yamaha, which will remain in Milwaukee livery for the popular Manx races, and the Ballymoney man will also take his Delaney Honda 125GP machine and possibly brother Michael’s ‘250’ Honda.
Dunlop said of riding the Superbike on the national scene: “I definitely want to do Walderstown, as that will be a big benefit to the Ulster Grand Prix, but I’ll speak to Shaun then decide on the others.”
Looking ahead to the Ulster action, William added: “It was always going to be hard to set the Superbike up with limited track time, but once I did that 130mph lap in the Senior TT and was second fastest to Glen Helen on lap one — I knew it was the perfect bike for the Ulster Grand Prix.
“I’m now a lot more excited about the whole effort and looking forward to it; I think we’ll do well.”
Cummins on the other hand could be facing a potential tête-à-tête with team boss Muir later this week, possibly requesting a relaxation of his contract to open up other options for the Southern 100.
He has made a plea to Ryan Farquhar for use of a KMR Vauxhall Dealers NI Supertwin, but will be keen to acquire a Superbike for the event.
Maybe a chance for Wilson Craig to see his Hondas running at the front during the Billown event. Who knows?