Northern Ireland road racing star Ryan Farquhar insists the pressure is all on challengers Michael Dunlop and Guy Martin ahead of this weekend's opening Irish National road race in Co Tyrone.

Farquhar has been the man to beat at the Cookstown 100 in recent years, underlining his status as the big race favourite in 2011 with a string of victories in the Superbike, Supersport and Supertwin classes.

The KMR Kawasaki rider made a winning start to 2012 at the recent Ian Watson Spring Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough, but Ulster star Farquhar was attempting to deflect some of the attention away from himself ahead of this weekend's traditional road racing opener in Northern Ireland.

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"There's going to be more pressure on the likes of Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop to win races at Cookstown this weekend than there is on me," he said.

"Michael really has to perform because it's his sponsor Winston McAdoo's local track and he's the new kid on the block. They're not going to want an 'oul boy like me beating them this weekend.

"So the pressure is very much on them - it's not on me."

An impressive line-up for the KDM Hire-backed Cookstown 100 - which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this weekend - includes the aforementioned Martin on the new-look Tyco Suzuki machines plus Dunlop, who tested his new Honda Superbike for the first time last Tuesday.

William Dunlop will also compete at Cookstown on Wilson Craig's Honda machines, although his team-mate Cameron Donald will not contest the event.

Farquhar narrowly edged out Michael Dunlop in the feature Cookstown 100 race a year ago as Martin finished third with the consolation of a new outright lap record at 90.932mph.

The fast-talking, tea-swilling Lincolnshire truck mechanic and TV personality will ride the full Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike at Cookstown this weekend as he bids to bring a halt to Farquhar's dominance.

Farquhar, however, is unfazed and insists the onus is on Dunlop and Martin to produce the goods this on Saturday as they warm up for the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT races.

"I can't remember the last time Guy won a National road race here so he's going to be out to win and then you'll have Michael and William, but I'm looking forward to getting out for a run and we'll not be far away," he said.

Practice gets under way on Friday with a 15-race programme scheduled for Saturday.