Ballymoney's William Dunlop believes that to win his first Isle of Man TT in 2013, he needs to join his main road racing rivals in next season's British championship and now he is on the lookout for a Supersport ride to hone his skills for the June showpiece.
“I’d love to do a bit of Supersport racing and see where it takes me,” said the quietly spoken racer. “I don’t think I’d be a mug at it and I also don’t want to finish racing and say I’d never tried it.
“I know the British circuits from racing ‘one-two-five’ and it’s where you need to be competing if you want to arrive at the North West and TT as sharp as all those BSB lads.”
Dunlop recently parted company with Londonderry-based Wilson Craig Racing, for whom he won Supersport races at this year’s International North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix — and despite making the decision to move on, respectfully as ever, Dunlop would not be drawn on the personal details.
“Wilson has been very good to me and was the only person willing to give me a chance when no-one else would,” he acknowledged.
“He always kept to his word and it was a difficult decision for me to leave, but up until that point I had not been talking to anyone else. In fact when I made the decision I had nothing else, and still have nothing sorted.”
Recent speculation has paired William with 2011 British Superbike champions Swan Yamaha, who also have injured TT star Ian Hutchinson on their books.
Dunlop refutes the claims as pure speculation at this stage.
“I just had a very basic yarn with the Swan Yamaha team principal Shaun Muir,” was how he described their opportune meeting. “He said he may be interested in doing something with me and I think I’d certainly do a good job, but I wouldn’t be interested in riding Superstock. It would have to be the Supersport class.”
Despite suggestions also linking Dunlop with the newly formed World Performance Racing Team in British Supersport and the international roads as part of a new MV Agusta 675 project, William says he isn’t prepared to gamble.
“After testing the bike, yes I think it could win a TT in its first year, but the whole project seems a bit rushed to me and I never really considered it as a possibility. I think it would be too big a risk,” he explained.
Dunlop also ruled out running his own team in 2013, adding: “I’m not well backed like Michael,” referring to his younger brother, and concluded: “I could end up with nothing but two strokes, as I can’t take on anything that puts me in financial difficulty. We’ll just have to wait and see.”