Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

The Cartagena test also fea­tured some of the top names from the be­tween­the-hedges scene in ac­tion for the first time in 2016. Michael Dun­lop and Ian Hutchin­son were hav­ing out­ings on their Build­base Hawk and Tyco BMW S1000RR su­per­bikes, and last year’s Ul­ster and Ma­cau Grand Prix win­ner Peter Hick­man was test­ing the JG Speed­fit Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Dun­lop was prob­a­bly the busiest man on track in Spain, com­plet­ing over 240 laps on his 2016 stocker and su­per­bike S1000RRS.

“We just keep float­ing around,” a re­laxed and smil­ing Dun­lop said.

“Both of th­ese 2016 BMWS are dif­fer­ent from the bikes I have rid­den be­fore and they seem to be grand. We haven’t just di­alled them in to the last wee bit we want but we are mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is run­ning right be­fore we start push­ing.”

Un­like Hutchy and Hick­man, who have switched man­u­fac­tur­ers dur­ing the win­ter, Dun­lop will be on a BMW for a third sea­son. Does this give him an ad­van­tage for 2016? “The mo­tor, sus­pen­sion and elec­tron­ics are all dif­fer­ent from what we have been on be­fore,” he says. “Even within the Build­base team the guys are rid­ing dif­fer­ent bikes from me. It is a BMW but we have made a lot of changes.”

The Cartagena out­ing and the tests Dun­lop will take in ahead of his ap­pear­ance in the first two BSB rounds means he is sched­uled to be on track a lot more than he has pre­vi­ously man­aged at the start of a new sea­son. In ad­di­tion, Dun­lop has added ex­pe­ri­enced span­ner­man, Gra­ham Parker, who has worked in the pit­box of 13 TT win­ners, to his crew for 2016. Does this sig­nal a more me­thod­i­cal ap­proach than usual?

“There were ob­vi­ously bits and pieces that needed sort­ing,” the Bal­ly­money man agrees. “Re­al­is­ti­cally in the first TT su­per­bike race we lost 25 sec­onds in the pits and we were only down 20 sec­onds on the road. You can’t look away from that, those are the facts and you can’t laugh at it and say we will for­get about it. That is an­other vic­tory that could have been on the cards and I am there to win races. We need to sort that to make sure we don’t get into that po­si­tion again.”

Dun­lop and Ian Hutchin­son are on 11 wins apiece at the TT and one of the most mouth­wa­ter­ing prospects of 2016 will be the bat­tle be­tween the BMW rid­ers. “Un­less I had a prob­lem with the bike I stayed out there as long as I could to get time on the bikes,” Hutchy said af­ter test­ing his stock and su­per­bike-spec Tyco-liv­er­ied BMW S1000RRS.

‘ Thank good­ness

we sorted the chat­ter be­fore my

teeth fell out!’

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