William Dunlop's switch to Yamaha boosts bid for glory
William Dunlop will ride a full stable of Yamaha machinery for CD/IC Racing on the national and international road-racing scene next season.
The 30-year-old, who spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons with Moneymore-based TAS Racing aboard factory-backed Suzuki and BMW machinery, is delighted to be back under the wing of Randalstown businessman Chris Dowd, who has promised the affable racer top-class R6 and R1 Yamaha motorcycles in 2016.
Dunlop triumphed in this year's Irish Road Racing Supersport Championship aboard a CD/IC Yamaha.
"I had a successful season winning both the Irish Supersport and Superbike championships, but had some bad luck at the international events," he explained, referring to crashes at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
"At the North West 200 I fractured a handful of vertebrae in my back, then a couple of weeks later on the last day of practice at the Isle of Man TT I crashed again, which ended that event for me," said Dunlop of the incident at Glen Helen on the Tyco BMW.
"I was lucky just to break one rib and now I'm glad to see the winter time to get myself all good again for 2016.
"But I'm really happy to be riding for the CD/IC Racing team, which is run by Chris Dowd."
Dunlop will again campaign the team's specially built R6 Yamaha in 2016, and if fully fit and on top of his game, he will enter next year's TT as one of the favourites for Supersport honours once again.
A YZF-R1M Yamaha is also being built to Superbike specification for Dunlop by former Yamaha engine guru Marcus Eschenbacher, with MotoGP suspension expert Graham Irvine also pitching in, which should give the Ballymoney man his best ever opportunity of an international Superbike podium at the TT.
In stark contrast Dean Harrison, who recently opted out of his Mar-Train Racing contract for a second season aboard Yamaha UK backed machinery, has signed a two-year deal with Silicone Engineering Racing.
Harrison said of his move to the Lancashire-based outfit, which sees him tie-up with team manager and former racer Paul Iddon: "As soon as I met Paul and the rest of the team and saw the set-up - from the bike preparation and their knowledge - I knew it was a great opportunity to join a team on the up.
"The flexibility of how the team is run was another plus for me as I can really have an influence on key decisions on the bike, which I believe will take me to greater levels and hopefully bring success to the team," he added.