William Dunlop is itching to put his new Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike to the test at the North West 200 in May.
The Ulsterman, a winner in the Supersport class at the international road race meeting in Northern Ireland last year, will test the bike for the first time alongside new teammate Conor Cummins at a Dunlop tyre test at Albacete in Spain in March.
Dunlop jumped ship from Wilson Craig's Honda team to join Shaun Muir's British championship outfit for the NW200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix, plus the opening rounds of the British Supersport Championship.
And the 27-year-old is counting down the days to next month's tyre test in Spain.
“That will be the first time that I get to ride the new bikes and it is really important to put in the miles testing because there is so much new stuff to get used to,” he said.
“The R1 will have a load of electronic gadgets on board that I have never used on the roads before.
“There is traction control, launch control and the facility to alter the engine braking characteristics for instance,” he added.
“All of that will require some fine tuning before we start to race.
“With all the pre-season testing and British championship racing I will hopefully be able to come to the roads really bike-fit and with the bikes dialled in.”
North West 200 event director, Mervyn Whyte, feels the Yamaha squad will be a huge draw at the event in May.
“It is great news that we will have William and his team-mate Conor Cummins on the Milwaukee Yamahas at this year's Vauxhall North West 200,” he said.
“They will be one of the top teams on the roads this year and the North West will be their first challenge.
“William Dunlop knows his way around the Coast road and it would be good to see a local man on the top step of the podium again.”