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Dunlop granted Bol d'Or Honda role

19 April 2013

Northern Ireland's Michael Dunlop will start this weekend's Bol d'Or 24-hour Endurance World Championship race in place of Michael Rutter.

Dunlop, who was the fastest of the Honda TT Legends riders during qualifying, is making his race debut in the series.

John McGuinness will lead the charge on the CBR1000RR Fireblade at Magny-Cours in France, with Simon Andrews up next followed by Dunlop, who travelled to the event as a reserve rider for the team.

However, team boss Neil Tuxworth decided to side with Dunlop as Rutter continues to feel the effects of a broken leg he suffered during pre-season testing with the team at Mireval in France.

A delighted Dunlop, called into the EWC team after initially being signed by Tuxworth for the Superbike races at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT road races, said: “I don't do a lot of short circuit racing so it's nice to have been the quickest rider today.

“I actually feel like I could have gone a bit quicker and I think that will come with a bit more time on the bike.

“We're certainly making headway with the set-up. We obviously aim to get to a stage where everybody is happy, we can't just make me happy or someone else happy, so it's a compromise but it seems to be working,” added the 24-year-old.

“I'm obviously pleased to have been chosen to race and I'm looking forward to it.”

Although Dunlop set the fastest time of the Legends riders overall, his lap did not contribute to the team's overall qualifying position based on his status as a reserve rider.

Based on the times of McGuinness, Andrews and Rutter, the team will start from ninth position.

Tuxworth said: “We've had no machine issues at all during the official free practice and qualifying over the past two days, so it's gone very well.

“We pride ourselves on our reliability but we're trying to increase the performance all the time as well.

“I do think our bike is working better than last year, the new electronics system has certainly improved things,” he said.

“We're in a reasonably strong position for the race and the decision has been made to run McGuinness, Andrews and Dunlop in that order.

“Michael Rutter has obviously got some injuries he's recovering from and he's the one most likely to suffer during the race having not done a 24-hour before, so we think this is the best scenario.”

Rutter said he 'fully understood' the decision to start with Dunlop.

“It's been good over the past couple of days, learning the track, doing the night practice and getting used to the new way of working in the endurance championship.

“The body's hanging in after the crash injuries but I fully understand the decision for me not to do the race,” he said.

“I wish the guys all the best of luck and hope they can bring home a good result.”


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