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Dunlop feels Yamaha will make difference at TT
4 December 2012
William Dunlop believes the switch to a Yamaha R6 could give him the extra impetus to go on and claim his maiden Isle of Man TT victory in 2013.
The Northern Irishman, who was unveiled as part of Shaun Muir's Milwaukee Yamaha team at the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC in Birmingham at the weekend, claimed his first TT rostrum in June when he finished third behind Bruce Anstey and Cameron Donald on Wilson Craig's Honda.
Dunlop, though, was ultimately disappointed with the result after dominating practice week in the 600cc class on the Mountain course.
He admitted the weight of expectation ahead of the opening Supersport race this year had an adverse impact on his performance and although he was feeling 'in the zone' for race two, Dunlop was cruelly ruled out on the opening lap while leading the race with bike trouble.
His brother Michael went on to claim the victory from Donald.
However, with that experience behind him and the switch to his favoured Yamaha next year, Dunlop – a winner in the Supersport class at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix – is confident of breaking his TT duck.
The 27-year-old, who will ride in the British Supersport Championship for Milwaukee Yamaha in addition to the international road races, said: “I've done 126mph in practice at the TT and the pressure got to me in the first Supersport race this year, but I felt like I was in the zone in the second race and I thought I'd have won it.
“I felt so good and after messing up the first one I was ready for the second race, but you've got to finish to win and it was one of those things.
“But I love the Yamaha R6 – it's a great bike and hopefully we'll be able to get a win next time at the TT.”
On his move to the Milwaukee Yamaha team, the Ballymoney man feels the benefit of plenty of pre-season testing plus invaluable track time in the opening British Supersport series will enable him to hit the ground running at the North West 200 in May.
“It's a big chance for me and I was really impressed with the whole set-up after going over and seeing the workshop,” he said.
“It was an easy decision to make and I can just focus on racing.
“I'll have plenty of time on the bikes before the first race and that's a big help,” added Dunlop, who will also ride the ex-Ian Hutchinson Yamaha YZF-R1 in the superbike class on the roads.
“The bikes are Hutchy's bikes and the Superbike is a World Superbike-spec R1 that was raced by [Eugene] Laverty and [Marco] Melandri a couple of years back.
“I've no doubt we'll get the big bike working right for the TT and Hutchy did a lap at 127.8mph on the bike at the TT this year, which was pretty good considering how bad an injury he had.”
Hutchinson has been sidelined in 2013 as he continues to battle the leg injury he initially suffered during a crash at the end of the 2010 season.
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