Why Josh War­ring­ton would feel right at home fac­ing Carl Framp­ton in a world ti­tle fight in Belfast


PROUD sons Michael and Wil­liam Dun­lop served up a fit­ting trib­ute to their le­gend dad, Robert (top, right), on the 10th an­niver­sary of his tragic death fol­low­ing a prac­tice ac­ci­dent dur­ing the 2008 North West 200.

His boys were in blis­ter­ing form dur­ing yes­ter­day’s open­ing qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion for this year’s north coast event and it could have been no co­in­ci­dence, given the sig­nif­i­cance of the date.

Michael, look­ing bike fit and phys­i­cally fit, to­tally fo­cused and deter­mined, set the fastest time in the open­ing Su­per­sport class, lap­ping at 112.757mph, a mere 0.087 sec­onds ahead of el­der brother Wil­liam (bot­tom, right).

Michael then set a speed of 115.577mph at the top of the Su­per­bike ses­sion on the Tyco BMW, be­fore Lee John­ston went faster at 116.701mph on his Honda Fire­blade with Wil­liam in sev­enth.

In Su­per­stock, Michael was fourth fastest on his own BMW while Alas­tair See­ley topped the ses­sion on his Tyco BMW.

The Dun­lop per­for­mances brought back mem­o­ries of 2008 and the 250cc race that Michael won, 48 hours af­ter his fa­ther’s fa­tal ac­ci­dent — one of the most emo­tional races ever wit­nessed at the Tri­an­gle with fans re­duced to tears at the brav­ery of the then 19-year-old.

Michael ded­i­cated that race win to his fa­ther’s mem­ory but yes­ter­day he kept his thoughts to him­self, de­clin­ing all re­quests for me­dia in­ter­views. IRE­LAND will prob­a­bly have to wait un­til early next year be­fore play­ing their sec­ond Test match but, af­ter their de­but per­for­mance on the big­gest stage, they will have noth­ing to fear.

Op­po­nents have yet to be an­nounced for Ire­land’s next foray into the Test arena but a re­turn match in Pak­istan — if safe to do so — is un­likely to take place in the next 18 months be­cause of their packed fix­ture sched­ule.

How­ever, Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed said he would wel­come Ire­land any time, and was im­pressed by their per­for­mance over the last four days, be­fore the tourists fi­nally came out on top by five wick­ets.

Ire­land’s first Test cen­tu­rion, Kevin O’Brien, was dis­missed on his first ball of the fi­nal day yes­ter­day and with Ire­land bowled out for 339, Pak­istan needed only 160 to win.

Proud Ire­land skip­per Wil­liam Porter­field said the play­ers were dis­ap­pointed not to win.

“Close to 200 would have made it a very in­ter­est­ing game. They came out and played pos­i­tively”, he said.



Speed king: Michael Dun­lop in North West ac­tion yes­ter­day

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