FURIOUS ROW THAT DEFINES THE RIVALRY
After their battles both on and off the track at this year’s TT, it is highly unlikely Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop will be sharing a pint during the duo’s next meeting at the Ulster Grand Prix. The animosity sparked when a TT official erroneously questioned the legality of Hutchinson’s R6 pistons after the second Supersport race erupted into a bitter war of words in the Senior TT press conference.
“There is not really anything to be said about the thing with Michael,” is the Yorkshireman’s blunt response on the subject.
“The only thing that was misunderstood was that some people think that I said he got preferential treatment from BMW. That’s not what I meant at all. When I said that we didn’t have the engine he had, I meant that because the Tyco team had had a problem with that spec of engine at Brands BSB earlier in the year, they didn’t trust it and didn’t want to rely on it for the TT. There had been a component failure and in the end the team didn’t take the engine to the TT at all.
“It was nothing to do with what BMW were giving anybody and anyone on the grid can buy the same engines as Michael and I have. There wasn’t any preferential treatment from BMW.”
Although he paid tribute to Dunlop’s pace and the support his rival received from his Hawk team, Hutchy also pointed to the advantage the Ballymoney man enjoyed in being BMW mounted for a third successive TT as he grappled with the S1000RR for the first time.
“I’ve done three years with three different manufacturers, which is never ideal,” he said. “It was always going to be a bit harder this year. There’s no reason why you can’t win on your first year on a bike. I’ve won the Superstock race on my first year on the BMW and I won the Superstock race on my first year on a Kawasaki last year. And Michael won on his first time out on the BMW at the TT in 2014.
“But I’ve come to BMW against someone who is not on their first time out on the bike and that has made a difference. I always knew that it was going to be difficult not only to beat Michael but also being up against the Hawk team and what they have learned over the years.”
By comparison, Hutchy says everything was new for him with the Tyco team this season.
“My team are in their second year with the BMW and their first year with me. I don’t know exactly what they learnt last year from their riders but I started this year’s TT on a set-up they finished on and it was nowhere near where I ended up. We have learned a lot with the superbike at the TT and from the team as well. Guy Martin and William Dunlop got hardly any time with the bikes last year so they did well to do what they did.
“The team have moved on a lot with the bikes in the British Championship now and they have been able to bring a lot more info to the TT for me this year. That has obviously helped a lot.”
‘ There is not really anything to be said about the thing with Michael’ IAN HUTCHINSON
TT grumpy face contest. Bonus points awarded for wearing extra hats