Michael Dunlop will travel to Malaysia to test for the factory Ecstar Suzuki MotoGP squad at Sepang before the first official test on the 28-30 January.

The 15-time Isle of Man TT race winner has been handed the opportunity of the one-off test at the Sepang International Circuit following his success at last year’s TT when he won the Senior TT race on board the all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000.

The arrangement is also thought to be an incentive to see Dunlop remain in the Suzuki fold for 2018 despite being linked to a number of other teams including Tyco BMW which has a race seat available for the road racing season after Ian Hutchinson’s move to Honda.

Dunlop tweeted a picture of his Ecstar Suzuki racing leathers ahead of his flight to Malaysia for the private test being held at Sepang on the 25-26 January in preparation for the official three-day MotoGP test which begins next Sunday. The Ulster rider is expected to take part in the private test alongside a number of other factory Suzuki riders to get his first experience with the GSX-RR.

Suzuki is aiming for a stronger 2018 having struggled with engine development issues throughout last year which were compounded with Alex Rins suffering a number of early season injuries, which saw him miss five of the opening seven races of his rookie MotoGP campaign, plus Andrea Iannone’s difficulties gelling with the Japanese manufacturer.



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