Michael Dunlop aims for TT joy with BMW
Michael Dunlop will be back on BMW machinery for this year's Isle of Man TT Races, where he will seek to rediscover the form that saw him take a treble for the German manufacturer in 2014.
Despite missing out on a top step last season at the June showpiece, after his hugely publicised jump from Milwaukee Yamaha at the eleventh hour, the 11-time TT winner will again join forces with Stuart Hicken's Hawk Racing team.
With BMW's official support now in the hands of local team Tyco BMW, who have secured the services of Ian Hutchinson - a treble TT winner in 2015 - what a mouthwatering prospect it will be when the 11-time TT winners go head-to-head for the first time on June 4 in the six-lap RST Superbike TT.
Now a man of few words out of his racing leathers following a self-imposed embargo on the media, Dunlop simply said of his new deal with the team: "I'm coming back to the TT to win again."
And who would bet against him?
"I gave it my best shot last year, but the Superbike crash wasn't the best preparation for the Senior," he added.
"My last lap at the TT reminded everyone what I can do and with these boys behind me I'm ready to race properly again," he said of his opening day crash in 2015, the Hawk Team, and of course that blistering lap of 132.515mph, which was just over a second adrift of the outright lap record, which was set by John McGuinness in the same Senior TT race.
Dunlop will certainly be out to avenge what was a lacklustre TT by his very own high standards, and the privateer versus official BMW team battle will undoubtedly gain many column inches on both sides of this year's Isle of Man event.
The 26-year-old Ballymoney man is expected to run his own machinery in the Supersport and Superstock classes under the MD Racing banner and livery, but to get himself up to speed, there's a distinct possibility that Hicken's BMW squad will enter him as a wildcard at a number of British Superbike events.
Last year, Dunlop's TT was sadly hampered by injury, but at yesterday's MCN Motorcycle Show in London he looked well on his way to racing fitness, which will please his army of fans.
Dunlop will also campaign the Hawk S1000RR BMW Superbike at the North West 200 in May and the Ulster Grand Prix in August.