William Dunlop has given a cool reception to a move by the North West 200 organisers to run one of the event's two Supersport races on a weeknight next year.
At the official launch of the Ulster road race in Belfast, plans were announced to add a third race to the Thursday evening schedule on May 16 in 2013, with the opening Supersport race running alongside the first Superstock and Supertwin races.
The second Supersport race will be held on the main race bill on Saturday, May 18 along with two Superbike events plus the second Superstock and Supertwin races, but Dunlop feels the decision has taken some of the prestige away from the 600cc class.
The 27-year-old, a Supersport winner at the North West 200 in May, told the Belfast News Letter: “I'd love to have seen both Supersport races held on the Saturday, because they usually provide the best racing.
“Nobody's going to care if you win the 600cc race on the Thursday because most people come for the Saturday racing.
“It's taken a bit of the shine off it and it means that Saturday's Supersport race is going to be the big one now,” he added.
“It was the same when I won the 125cc race at the Ulster Grand Prix on the Thursday of race week – it didn't feel like a proper win.
“I think they could easily have kept both Supersport races for the Saturday and run a full six races without any problems.
“I suppose if they run out of time on the Thursday to run three races then they always have the option of switching one of the races to the Saturday.”
Dunlop split from Wilson Craig's Honda team last week and has since been linked to a ride on Yamaha machinery for Shaun Muir.
However, the talented Ulsterman has yet to finalise any plans for next season.
The 2013 North West 200 has secured a new title backer in Vauxhall Motors.