‘This is just class - I love be­ing here’

Michael Dun­lop makes up for Su­per­bike DNF with a long over­due Su­pers­port TT win

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Michael Guy SPORTS ED­I­TOR

Still reel­ing from his forced re­tire­ment when lead­ing the open­ing Su­per­bike TT, Michael Dun­lop made amends in the best way pos­si­ble with a dom­i­nant vic­tory in the first Su­pers­port TT. A win that saw him draw level with the leg­endary Mike Hail­wood in the all-time TT win­ners list with win num­ber 14.

Rid­ing the MD Rac­ing Yamaha R6, Dun­lop over­came an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally slow start that saw him trail­ing the im­pres­sive James Hil­lier in the open­ing laps. Hil­lier, on­board the JG Speed­fit Kawasaki, didn’t make it easy for Dun­lop who took un­til the third lap to stamp his author­ity on the four-lap race and take vic­tory by a com­mand­ing 13 sec­onds.

“Fair play to James, he jumped out of the blocks to­day fight­ing. We had to push,” ex­plained a ju­bi­lant Dun­lop.

“The con­di­tions weren’t too bad out there,” Dun­lop said af­ter heavy rain had soaked the cir­cuit overnight and led to a two-hour de­lay of the start.

“I took it steady on the first lap. I think we maybe picked the wrong rear tyre. I opened up the throt­tle on the third lap to get a bit of a gap.”

While it wasn’t a big bike win the 28- year-old lives for, it was still hugely sig­nif­i­cant for two rea­sons. The first was that it was Dun­lop’s first Su­pers­port win since 2014 and se­condly it brought to an end to arch ri­val Ian Hutchin­son’s run of four straight wins in the class.

“This is just class – I love be­ing here, frig­ging love it and it’s a long time com­ing. The 600 had been off the boil for a cou­ple of years, for what­ever rea­sons, it’s nice to be back again and with a few new spon­sors on board and it’s their first win at the TT.”

Dun­lop also made a veiled ref­er­ence to the row that sur­rounded the le­gal­ity of the pis­tons in Hutchin­son’s race-win­ning Yamaha in 2016.

“It’s been a few years since I won a Su­pers­port race and there have been a few other things hap­pen­ing since then too, so now this proves it,” he said.

“There are a lot of fac­tors with­out point­ing at any­thing.”

His vic­tory was taken to another level due to his Su­per­bike DNF a day ear­lier, a race he was ut­terly con­vinced he was go­ing to win.

Speak­ing about how his team re­sponded, he said: “The boys put in a lot of work. I was dis­ap­pointed yes­ter­day, I just said it’s very sim­ple boys- we ei­ther stand up and be counted or we lie down and be tram­pled over. The boys just worked as hard as they could to get the bike sorted. The last cou­ple of years the 600s haven’t been so good and I’m just glad to prove that we can still ride it. I got a kick in the gut yes­ter­day with the Su­per­bike and I didn’t know at first if I had won the Su­pers­port. It’s start­ing to sink in now and I love the 600 and it’s my spon­sor Carl Cox’s first win at the TT too.”

He also took the time to thank his older brother Wil­liam who loaned him a part just min­utes be­fore the start of the race.

“Thanks to Wil­liam, we strug­gled for one of the parts on the bike and fair play to him, he loaned it to me.”

The poor weather con­di­tions that have plagued this year’s TT dur­ing prac­tice and race week caused the aban­don­ment of the sec­ond sched­uled Su­per­port race, deny­ing race fans of another thrilling bat­tle and the prospect of a Dun­lop v Hutchin­son show­down.

‘I love be­ing here, frig­ging love it and it’s been a long time com­ing. I’ve proved I can still ride it’

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