Michael Dunlop has earned a factory ride with Honda for 2013 after being confirmed with John McGuinness and Michael Rutter in the Honda TT Legends team.

The 23-year-old Ulsterman has already won three TT races with privately-entered teams and now gets his chance to challenge for a coveted superbike victory at the Isle of Man TT on a works Fireblade.

Dunlop, 19-times TT winner McGuinness and Rutter will ride in the Legends colours at the North West 200 and TT.

Related Articles

McGuinness and Rutter will also be joined in the Endurance World Championship by Cameron Donald and Simon Andrews.

A delighted Dunlop said he was ready to seize the opportunity with both hands and he isn't fazed by the prospect of competing in the same team as TT hero McGuinness, who is closing in on his uncle Joey's all-time record of 26 wins on the Mountain circuit.

"This is a big opportunity for me with both Honda and Dunlop and it's an honour to be riding for them so I'm looking forward to getting started," he said.

"People are asking me how it will be for me having John as a team-mate but when we get on the bike it will be the same.

"I get on well with John but I don't worry about anybody else when I'm on track," he added.

"As a team we've got a great line-up with Rutter as well so it'll be a pretty good show."

Morecambe ace McGuinness said: "I'm really pleased to be involved with the team again.

"For EWC, I know the tracks, I know the bike and we're ready to start upping our game even more.

"We've done well during the development stage over the last couple of years but this is the year for us to fight for the podium and challenge for the championship.

"As for the roads, it's second nature for me now. I love working with the same crew that I've been with for so many years," added the 40-year-old.

"The whole package just works and I don't want to change that. I'm ready to get stuck in and hopefully get some more wins."

Rutter is excited by the new challenge of competing in the Endurance World Championship, when his experience will be a huge asset to the team's chances.

"I'm really excited to be riding with the Honda TT Legends next year," he said.

"Endurance is not something I have done before so that's going to be a great experience and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do there.

"I've obviously got a history with the Louth-based team as I did BSB and the roads with them for a couple of years in 2004/2005, so I'm familiar with the Fireblade and I know the crew well.

"It will be good to be back with the team and I'm really happy to back with Honda."