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Michael Dunlop proud of 2012 roads feats
8 January 2013
Michael Dunlop has reflected on a golden year in road racing that saw the hard-riding Ulsterman add to his growing list of international achievements.
Dunlop added a third success at the Isle of Man TT to his record with victory in the second Supersport event and finished as the runner-up in the Superstock race to John McGuinness.
The 23-year-old also stood on the top step at the Ulster Grand Prix in the Superbike and Superstock classes and bagged an unrivalled five race victories at the Southern 100.
His exploits in 2012 ultimately earned him a ride in the Honda TT Legends team, when he will ride alongside McGuinness and Michael Rutter on the CBR1000RR Fireblade.
And although Dunlop took time out to cast his mind over an impressive campaign between the hedges last year, the single-minded racer from Ballymoney in County Antrim concedes: “You're only as good as your last race.”
“Winning the Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix meant a lot,” Dunlop said.
“I had a point to prove after falling off in the first race [when battling with Guy Martin] and it says a lot about my own self-belief and spirit that I was able to get back on the bike again and win.
“It showed what I'm made of and nothing fazes me – if I make a mistake I just get back on the job again.
“People talk about the North West, TT and Ulster Grand Prix as the big internationals even though the Southern 100 is an international too.
“They don't really count the Southern as an international feature, but to me, to win at the Southern is a big thing too,” he told the Belfast News Letter.
“Last year the 600 Suzuki I was using at the Southern wasn't the fastest in the world, but I managed to get on top of it and win.
“I retained my title in the Solo Championship race as well and that win is right up there because Guy Martin was there - they were all there.
“The Southern proved a lot of things too because Ryan [Farquhar] had beat me at Skerries and there was a lot of talk about this and that, but I went to a real man's circuit at the Southern and became the first rider ever to win five races – that's what you call a five-timer.”
Dunlop also took great satisfaction in his Supersport triumph at the TT last June after he was denied what looked like certain victory in the opening 600cc event after being forced to retire due to mechanical trouble.
“I was really deflated at the TT after I had to retire from the first 600 race, but I came back bigger and stronger for the second Supersport race.
“I saw that Cameron [Donald] had closed a bit on me in the race after the pit-stops but I knew I could pull the pin and I put in some hard miles,” he recalled.
“The next signal I saw I was 'P1 - +14 seconds' or something so I had stretched the gap out from about five seconds.
“Every race I won last year took hard work to get there and it was never plain sailing, but they all meant a lot to me.”
He also singled out a typically gritty performance in the Ulster Grand Prix Superstock race as another standout moment from 2012.
“When you look at the Superstock race at the Ulster Grand Prix, I had a bad start and fell way back.
“Before I knew it I had closed them in again, but then we had some problems with the bike when the side panel came off. I just ripped it off and then closed the gap again and I managed to win it,” he said.
“I just love racing and it shows my determination – I wasn't going to throw in the towel.
“I just don't give in - I just keep going,” added Dunlop.
“But you're only as good as your last race and I'm excited about this year now. Obviously people are talking about me and John [McGuinness] going at it at the TT.
“I'm excited to see what I can do on a proper superbike at the TT myself.”
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