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Stewart targets 130mph TT lap on SMT Honda
14 February 2013
Reigning Isle of Man TT Privateer champion Dan Stewart is targeting a 130mph lap on the Mountain circuit in June after signing a deal with SMT Honda.
The 37-year-old Cumbrian will ride for Robin Croft's team at the TT and possibly the Ulster Grand Prix this season.
Stewart has been one of the most consistent performers at the TT, racking up 16 top ten finishes since 2006, including three consecutive top six places in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
He retains the backing of Wilcock Consulting for a tenth year and will ride a Honda Fireblade, Kawasaki ZX-10R Superstock and Honda CBR600RR.
The National Superstock 1000 contender believes he now has his best opportunity yet to shine at the TT, where he has set his sights on breaking the 130mph barrier.
Nineteen-times TT winner John McGuinness currently holds the outright lap record for the 37.73-mile roads course at 131.578mph set in 2009.
Stewart said: “I'm delighted to be joining Robin's team.
“I'll have a better set-up for 2013 than ever before and with SMT's considerable expertise and knowledge, it should allow me to post more consistent lap times and, hopefully, break the 130mph barrier and improve upon my previous best finish of sixth.
“Everything's in place for me to have my best ever year at the TT.”
Former British Supersport champion Karl Harris made his Isle of Man TT debut with SMT Racing in 2012.
Croft's SMT Racing team has an impressive British Superbike and international road racing pedigree, previously running star names including James Ellison, Chris Walker and Michael Rutter.
A lack of funding has prevented the team from competing in BSB in recent years, however SMT Racing was back in the headlines last November as Rutter dominated at the Macau Grand Prix to claim a record eighth success.
Croft told the
Belfast News Letter
: “The deal has worked out well for us so far and I think Dan's best chances are in the three big bike races at the TT.
“If you go by the form guide, then Dan should be creeping into the top 10, but you can never go by the form guide at the TT because so many things can happen.
“He's doing the British Superstock series this year so he'll have plenty of time on the bike before the TT and plus he'll have a test with us on the Superbike.
“We're not doing the North West, but Dan wants to do the 'Ulster', although we haven't talked about that yet as we're jumping one hurdle at a time,” he added.
“Obviously as a team we want to go back to Macau to defend our title there but at this stage I'd be looking at going back there with the same two riders as last year [John McGuinness and Michael Rutter].
“So the plan is definitely to race the TT, possibly the Ulster Grand Prix and definitely Macau.”
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