Belfast Telegraph

Dominant Michael Dunlop now aims to add to his Super collection at Ulster Grand Prix

By Paul Lindsay

Ballymoney's Michael Dunlop is confident of adding to his impressive tally of Superbike wins this season, when the action gets under way today with the opening practice sessions for Saturday's MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.

Dunlop has all but decimated his rivals in the blue riband class, winning the Superbike race at the North West 200, followed up by a coveted Isle of Man TT Superbike and Senior double.

He then went on to a take a four-timer at the Southern 100 and additional wins on the Irish national scene, that included a double just a few weeks ago at Armoy. This leaves him as the stand-out favourite for honours in Thursday's Dundrod 150 and also both Superbike races in Saturday's UGP.

Despite being short on dialogue with the media of late, Dunlop did say: "I've had a good year already with wins in the big bike races at the internationals, so I'm happy enough."

Recounting those performances, which produced some staggering statistics, Dunlop said: "If you look at my times at the TT I could have done a 134mph, but Dundrod is the place where we really need to step it up now.

"For sure the wind and the tyres will be big things, but we're supposed to be in for a good turn in the weather and the track is looking really good so we should be alright."

The 27-year-old already has seven wins to his name at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix, but the one accolade that eludes him is the lap record. Close rival Bruce Anstey still holds the title of 'world's fastest road racer' with his 133.977mph lap at Dundrod in 2010.

Refusing to get drawn into the lap record discussion, Dunlop instead focused on his pre-event preparation for the UGP, where he's had season-long problems with his Supersport machine, despite his domination of the Superbike class.

"The big bike is good," he said of the Hawk Racing prepared BMW Motorrad UK supported S1000RR. "We've had a couple of problems with the other two, but we should have them sorted easily enough.

"We just need to work with what we've got here and try to make a good package for Saturday. I want things to be right for Saturday's race, that's the big one."

With the all-new Superpole qualifying session being implemented for this year's event in the Superbike class, the 13-time Isle of Man TT winner was asked on his thoughts on the new process that mirrors the British Superbike class.

"We're not worrying about Superpole just yet," he said, somewhat nonplussed. "We need to make the top 10 first and then we'll take it from there."

Noel Johnston, the clerk of course at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix added: "Michael's form this year has been nothing short of sensational and I think a lot of people are really looking forward to seeing what he brings to Dundrod."

The packed programme of events for this week's MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix continues today with the opening practice sessions. Roads close at 10am and will re-open no later than 9.30pm, followed by a chat show in the marquee and live entertainment from the Boneyard Boys.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph