Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Dunlop edges closer to big reveal in Spain

By Paul Lindsay

Former World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli is one of the leading names already confirmed for the Pro Test at Cartagena in southern Spain at the start of next month, along with a plethora of stars from the British series.

But the big talking point locally is what bike 13-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop will wheel out at the Murcian circuit, determining his choice of machinery for the 2017 season.

Dunlop is also expected to announce a new title sponsor in the coming weeks, but in terms of hardware, the big money is on him riding a Hawk Racing prepared GSX-R1000 Suzuki, with additional support from world-renowned tuning specialists Yoshimura.

Dunlop, who turns 28 in April, has, as expected, played his cards very close to his chest and even Lisburn's Carl Phillips, who the Ballymoney man is sponsoring in this season's British Superstock series, is giving nothing away. That first morning in Spain when the garage door goes up is going to be very interesting indeed.

The big question is, will Dunlop stick with tried and tested BMW machinery or decide to take a gamble?

This year's Pro Test is again organised by Barry Symmons, the former Honda Britain and Norton team manager. Local riders attending this year include Ross Paterson, Jack Kennedy, Michael and William Dunlop, Michael Laverty, Michael Kerr and Scott Swan, as well as the full Tyco BMW team.

So if you fancy a short break in Spain at the beginning of next month to see some of the top BSB and road racing stars in action, as well as some up and coming talent, the Pro Test takes place from March 1-5. Admission is free to the general public.

Belfast Telegraph

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