Tim is right for William to power new bikes to glory
Two of the nice guys in motorcycle racing have teamed up to present a potentially formidable united front for the 2018 season.
Star rider William Dunlop and team boss Tim Martin now have an Isle of Man TT victory their sights.
And it is the prospect of the famous Dunlop name winning on his bikes that persuaded Saintfield road transport company owner Martin to return to the paddock after a year out to decide whether he wanted to continue in the sport.
Dunlop, too, looks rejuvenated by the partnership after a couple of lacklustre seasons with only sporadic glimpses of his unquestionable ability shining through.
Martin, well known for the successful running of his previous Mar-Train outfit, will now build a new team around William after a tentative link-up at last year's Ulster Grand Prix.
William (32) brought Martin's Yamahas out of retirement for a major breakthrough at Dundrod after making significant electronic improvements during a test in England.
Whilst the Ballymoney man eventually had to sit out the event due to injury, he impressed during qualifying and became the first man to break the 200mph top speed barrier, meaning thoughts immediately turned to 2018 potential and a possible new partnership with Tim Martin.
Now it has been confirmed he will compete on the Temple Golf Club R1M Yamahas in the Superstock and Superbike categories, as well as on the the Temple & Caffrey International R6 Yamaha in the Supersport class at all three International road races this year, the North West 200, UGP and TT.
The team will also take in the opening British Superbike rounds plus a few other events yet to be confirmed.
Delighted William said: "My Supersport package has always been strong, but for the last two years I have been given competitive big bikes but not the budget to run them properly. Tim stepped in and gave me everything I wanted for the Ulster last year and the bikes were transformed.
"I wasn't riding well but was still competing for pole position in qualifying, so I knew then what I wanted for 2018. My indifferent results were beginning to take their toll as I knew I was capable of better, but that just makes me appreciate the position I am in now even more.
"To have my team and bikes ready to go in January takes away so much pressure, I am mentally and physically in better condition than ever and looking forward to going testing. Tim coming back to build the team for me is such a boost of confidence.
"I am continuing my Supersport arrangement through Caffrey International as well as bringing my loyal sponsors Bayview Hotel and Henderson Food Machinery along, so I have everything I want and need to win races."
After spearheading the development of the all new YZF-R1M throughout 2015, Tim Martin was cruelly denied his opportunity to reap the rewards in 2016 following an injury to rider Dan Kneen. After a year away from the sport, his desire to win races has only intensified, and he aims to prove just how good both Dunlop and the Yamaha actually are, with international victories the absolute target.
He said: "I have watched William from a distance for years and made no secret of the fact I think he is a natural talent with the potential to beat anyone.
"I've also spent a lot of time developing the R1M without turning the potential into results, so the opportunity to put the two together and prove a few people wrong was just too tempting to resist.
"The R1M has been completely revamped since we were last on track and we have put together a good team with everything William asked for.
"We plan to go testing in Spain before taking in some British Superbike rounds to make sure we are as sharp as possible when we arrive on the North Coast in May.
"I'm thoroughly looking forward to being back in the paddock and to finally working with William."