SUZUKI’S SUP­PORT ‘AS FAC­TORY AS FAC­TORY CAN BE’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

For Steve Hicken, ac­quir­ing Michael Dun­lop’s ser­vices for 2017 is the fi­nal piece in his team’s Suzuki plans.

Ex­pe­ri­enced team bosses like Honda’s Neil Tux­worth, PBM’S Paul Bird and Shaun Muir of Mil­wau­kee have tried and failed to har­ness the mer­cu­rial racer’s tal­ents but Dun­lop has won four of the last six su­per­bike TT races un­der Hicken’s tute­lage. He has no il­lu­sions about the task ahead in 2017 with the new Suzuki though.

“It isn’t go­ing to be easy,” the qui­etly spo­ken Le­ices­ter­shire man says.

“It is a big project and with Michael on board it is ex­pected that we will win at least the two big TT races that we won in 2016. We want to have a good go at the North West too. Yes, he has had is­sues rid­ing a new bike but Michael has put trust in us and hope­fully we can re­pay it.”

Like Dun­lop, Hicken sees Suzuki’s strong sup­port as be­ing a cru­cial fac­tor. “Fac­tory is a dif­fi­cult word but we are as fac­tory as fac­tory can be.” he says. “From our ex­pe­ri­ence we have never had sup­port like it. Nick Good­i­son (the team’s en­gine-builder and a for­mer crew chief of John Kocin­ski) has al­ready been to Yoshimura in Ja­pan. As we speak the first en­gine has just ar­rived. We have fac­tory camshafts. We have a fac­tory swingarm, a fac­tory link­age, fac­tory sub­frame, fac­tory tank and fac­tory body­work.”

All the var­i­ous set-ups from the Ben­netts squad’s Bri­tish rider, Syl­vain Guin­toli’s Sepang test, as well as the specs tried by the 8 Hour Moto Amer­ica team have al­ready been supplied to the Hawk squad.

The team will be­gin test­ing with Dun­lop at Mal­lory to­day be­fore mov­ing to Carta­gena and Alme­ria. The 13-times TT win­ner will also take part in the first BSB test at Don­ing­ton and ride in the open­ing round of the series. Hicken will con­sider test­ing at non-BSB events to run the Suzuki on the Dun­lops the team uses on the roads.

‘Yes he has had is­sues rid­ing a new bike but Michael has put trust in us’

Great ex­pec­ta­tions – Dun­lop with team boss Steve Hicken

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