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Ulster GP: Michael Dunlop eyes Superbike glory

'If you look at my times at the TT I could have done a 134mph lap, but Dundrod is the place where we really need to step it up now' - Michael Dunlop.
Michael Dunlop is gunning for a clean sweep of international Superbike wins at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix this week.

Dunlop set a new outright lap record at the North West 200 as he won the sole Superbike race in May on his Hawk Racing BMW.

The 27-year-old then completed a Superbike and Senior double at the Isle of Man TT, where the Ulster rider set another outright lap record as he went close to an average speed of 134mph lap around the Mountain Course, raising the benchmark to 133.962mph.

Saturday's two Superbike races at Dundrod are Dunlop's primary objectives as he goes head-to-head once more with TT rival Ian Hutchinson, who is seeking his first Ulster GP victory since 2010.

“I've had a good year already with wins in the big bike races at the internationals so I'm happy enough,” said Dunlop.

“If you look at my times at the TT I could have done a 134mph lap, but Dundrod is the place where we really need to step it up now. For sure the wind and the tyres will be big things, but we're supposed to be in for a good turn in the weather and the track is looking really good so we should be alright.”

Flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey remains the outright lap record holder at Dundrod thanks to his 133.977mph lap in 2010, giving the 7.4-mile Dundrod course its proud status as the fastest road race in the world.

Anstey lines up on the Valvoline Padgetts Honda RC213V-S MotoGP machine and is a major contender for Superbike honours along with Dunlop and Hutchinson.

There is plenty of hype surrounding the possibility of the first 134mph lap, but Dunlop's main focus is on finding the best set-up for his BMW S1000RR heading into Saturday's main event.

“The big bike is good. We've had a couple of problems with the other two but we should have them sorted easily enough,” he said.

“We just need to work with what we've got here and try to make a good package for Saturday. I want to be right for Saturday's race, that's the big one.”

A new Superpole session introduced this year sees the fastest 10 Superbike riders vying for their place on the grid on Thursday, with Lee Johnston – a treble winner last year – Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison, William Dunlop, Conor Cummins and Dan Kneen also among the leading contenders.

Practice commences on Wednesday and continues on Thursday, followed by the Dundrod 150 National meeting in the evening, when all the big names will be in action in the Superbike race, which will whet the appetite for Saturday's feature races.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Michael Dunlop
Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki in the Senior TT.
Peter Hickman in the Senior TT on the Smiths BMW.
Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki in the Senior TT.
Bruce Anstey on his way to victory in the TT Zero race.
Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Superbike.
Alan Bonner was killed in an incident at the 33rd Milestone.
Jochem van den Hoek.
Michael Rutter took victory in the Lightweight TT on the Italian Paton.
Dan Kneen celebrates with his team after sealing his maiden Isle of Man TT rostrum in the Superstock race.
Ian Hutchinson celebrates his Superstock victory.
Ian Hutchinson on his way to victory in the Superstock TT on the Tyco BMW.
Davey Lambert in the RST Superbike race.
A Sidecar narrowly missed spectators in an incident that was captured in a video posted on YouTube.
James Hillier on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki in the opening Supersport TT race.
Michael Dunlop in the Supersport TT.
Michael Dunlop on his Yamaha in the Supersport TT.
Peter Hickman claimed his maiden podium at the Isle of Man TT with a runner-up finish in the RST Superbike race.

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