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North West 200: Michael Dunlop targets Superbike victory on Milwaukee Yamaha R-1

By Roy Harris

Published 11/05/2015

Michael Dunlop celebrates after winning the feature 2014 Superbike race at the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Michael Dunlop celebrates after winning the feature 2014 Superbike race at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

Huge interest will centre around Michael Dunlop, a firm favourite with the fans, at this week’s Vauxhall North West 200, as he gets to grips with his fourth change of Superbike machinery in as many years, lining up this time around for Milwaukee Yamaha riding the all-new R1 machine.

Arguably Michael is the man to beat in road racing at the moment and as such he is hot property. He is a proven winner — being the first man to win four TT races two years in succession backs that fact.

Last year at the North West Michael won his first Superbike in the final race of the day on BMW and after his three BMW wins at the TT a few weeks later all seemed to be rosy — but Michael is his own man and when things didn’t work out to his satisfaction with the German manufacturer, like it hadn’t done with Honda in 2013, the 26-year old was seeking pastures new for 2015.

In stepped Shaun Muir and Milwaukee Yamaha with a package that sees Dunlop race the team’s all-new Yamaha R1.

Muir said: “Michael has been the leading road racer for the last few seasons and we know that if there is

anyone to deliver the new R1’s potential it is him.”

With four North West 200 wins under his belt to date, the ‘Maverick’ of the road- racing world faces another huge challenge, but he has the reputation of being able to ride any motorcycle

extremely fast and his knowledge of them is better than most, as he is not afraid to get his hands dirty on the mechanical side.

To date Michael has tested the Yamaha in Spain, had a race outing on it during a Thundersport GB meeting at Donington where he won the opening GP1 race before losing the front and crashing out of the lead in race two.

Following last year’s tense opening North West 200 Superbike final lap dice with his elder brother William, one that William won, Michael went on to win the second outing for the ‘big bikes’ and will look to put Milwaukee Yamaha on the top step next Saturday.

Michael has been playing things close to his chest in the run-up to the North West and all he would say was: “I’m confident in the Milwaukee Team and the package we have put together for the big races. I’m looking forward to the North West and another new challenge.”

There is one other little caveat to consider — Michael’s late father Robert is the top rider at the North West with 15 wins and closing in on that figure are Michael Rutter on 13 and Alastair Seeley on 12. Michael will be hoping to ensure neither add to their winning totals come Thursday and Saturday, ensuring the Dunlop name remains at the top for another year.

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