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Southern 100: Dunlop warms up with Walderstown win

Michael Dunlop won the opening Superbike race at the Walderstown road races in southern Ireland as the Isle of Man TT star targets Solo Championship glory at the Southern 100.
Isle of Man TT titan Michael Dunlop clinched a win on his MD Racing BMW Superstock machine at the Walderstown road races in southern Ireland on Sunday as he warmed up for the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man.

Dunlop pounced late in the seven-lap Open Superbike race to sweep past long-time leader Derek Sheils on the final lap as the pair encountered slower riders.

However, Ulsterman Dunlop was upstaged by Sheils in the feature Superbike race at Walderstown near Athlone, whose decision to fit an intermediate rear Dunlop tyre following the sighting laps gave him the upper hand.

Dublin rider Sheils was trailing Dunlop in the first half of the race but began to make rapid inroads on the wet but drying roads, eventually catching and passing the 13-time TT winner to seal victory on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. Sheils set the fastest laps of the day and received the 'man of the meeting' award.

William Dunlop finished third on the MMB Yamaha R1. The 30-year-old, absent from the Southern 100 this week, saw his long winning streak in the Supersport class at the Irish National road races ended when he had to give second best to Derek McGee at Walderstown.

His younger brother and outright TT lap record-holder Michael is the hot favourite this week at the Southern 100 as he bids for a third win in the Solo Championship race on Thursday after sealing consecutive victories in 2011 and 2012.

With reigning Solo champion Guy Martin a confirmed non-starter, Dunlop's key rivals include Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider Dean Harrison and Manxman Dan Kneen – who returns to action on the Mar-Train Yamaha following injury – and Devitt RC Express Racing's Ivan Lintin.

In opening practice for the Southern 100 on Monday evening at the Billown course, Dunlop topped the Superbike times on the Hawk Racing BMW at 109.670mph from Lincolnshire rider Lintin, who lapped at 109.240mph.

Jamie Coward, who is riding a Kawasaki for the RC Express Racing team, was third fastest (107.411mph) ahead of Bradford man Harrison, who went fourth fastest on his 600cc Kawasaki at 107.370mph followed by Kneen, who clocked 107.061mph on the Mar-Train Yamaha R1.

In the Supersport class, Harrison – who bagged a four-timer in 2014 – led the way on his ZX-6R at 108.206mph from Lintin (105.981mph), with Kneen slotting into third following his best lap of 105.776mph.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Dunlop on the Hawk Racing BMW
Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Fireblade SP2
Gary Johnson will run his own team at TT 2017.
Conor Cummins has joined the Padgetts Racing Honda team for 2017.
Lee Johnston has teamed up with Ryan Farquhar to race a KMR Kawasaki in the NI Air Ambulance colours at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT.
Alastair Seeley with the Tyco BMW he will race at the North West 200.
John McGuinness on the Jackson Racing Honda.
Michael Dunlop, Carl Cox, [Credit: Holeshot PR]
Michael Dunlop has signed for Bennets Suzuki for the 2017 international road races.
Michael Dunlop has signed for the Bennett Suzuki team for 2017.
Guy Martin, John McGuinness Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Guy Martin, Honda Racing, [Credit: Honda Racing]
Josh Brookes has signed to ride for Norton at the Isle of Man TT in 2017.
Dan Kneen has signed for the Penz13.com Racing Team for the 2017 road races.
Dan Hegarty won the TT Privateers Championship in 2016.
Peter Hickman will ride for Smiths Racing in 2017 at the international road races and in the British Superbike Championship.
Peter Hickman won the Macau Grand Prix for the second year running on the Bathams/SMT BMW.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati at the Macau Grand Prix.

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