Michael Dunlop has dramatically unveiled the machine he will race in the Superbike races at this year’s fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 on the eve of the opening practice session.
Dunlop has turned to his old friends, Stuart and Steve Hicken of Hawk Racing, who have produced a superbike-spec GSXR1000RR Suzuki for the Ballymoney man at the eleventh hour after his split with the PBM Ducati team.
“It has been one of those situations where I have had to go back to someone I can trust.” the 33 year old said.
“Stuart has always said to call him if I needed anything. I made the call and they have built this Suzuki for me. Steve and Stuart might not have the biggest budget in the world but they always give 100% and that is all you can ask for.”
Dunlop won the Senior TT on a Hawk Racing built Suzuki in 2017. He previously rode for the Hicken owned team in 2014, 2015 and 2016 on BMW machinery.
“Everyone else has had three years to prepare for this week but we have had just three days.” Steve Hicken joked.
“It is just another one of those deals that happens between Hawk and Michael but if you win five TTs with someone there is a respect so let’s see what we can do now.”
“Michael is a big favourite with the North West 200 fans and we wanted him here on a superbike.” NW200 race boss, Mervyn Whyte said.
“It is a last minute deal but Michael is vastly experienced at the North West and if anyone can produce the goods on the day it is him.”
Dunlop is now hoping he can find a sponsor for the Suzuki before Saturday’s races.
“The last time I rode the Suzuki it was a brand new bike and the team has had four years to develop it since then.” Dunlop said.
“I’ve had the support of Gary Ryan, the Black Dub and H&S to get this deal sorted but it would be good to have someone behind us for the race.”