Ian Hutchinson is aiming to make amends at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix after suffering two Superbike defeats against Michael Dunlop at the Isle of Man TT.

The Bingley Bullet pulled off a repeat of his 2015 hat-trick in the Supersport and Superstock races on the Mountain Course, but Hutchy had to settle for a brace of runner-up finishes behind the Ulster rider in the premier races, who clocked a stunning new outright lap record of 133.962mph on his way to victory in the blue riband Senior.

Both riders will renew their rivalry at the world's fastest road race at Dundrod from August 10-13 and Tyco BMW rider Hutchinson is up for the fight.

"I had a great TT and I'm very much hoping to get back on the top step at Dundrod and if the form on the Isle of Man is anything to go by, it's going to be a brilliant event," said the 14-time TT winner, who has come out in favour of the new Superpole-style qualifying session introduced this year at Dundrod in a first for road racing.

"I'm looking forward to the Superpole session, it's going to be interesting," added Hutchinson. "It'll put the pressure on but it's great to see something new like that coming to road racing."

The fastest 12 riders in Superbike qualifying will go through to a Superpole shootout to decide their places on the grid for the two flagship Superbike races on Saturday, August 13.

Hutchinson was among a host of guests in attendance at the launch of the Ulster Grand Prix in Lisburn, including Peter Hickman, Ivan Lintin, William Dunlop, Dean Harrison and Dan Kneen.

Hickman clinched a stunning victory in the second Superbike race last year to secure his maiden international win on the roads and the British Superbike contender is hungry for more silverware at Dundrod, which remains the fastest roads course in the world following Bruce Anstey's record lap of 133.977mph set six years ago on the Relentless TAS Suzuki.

Hickman said: "I can't wait to get to the Ulster, and if the weather is good I can see the lap record going. It's a special place for me, the scene of my first international road race win and to add another to the tally would be fantastic."

Speculation is growing over the possibility of Guy Martin making his road racing return and the organisers haven't give up hope that the Lincolnshire rider will be on the grid at the event, which he rates as one of his favourites.

Martin crashed while leading the Dundrod 150 Superbike race last year and hasn't raced between the hedges since. He skipped the Isle of Man TT to participate in the gruelling Tour Divide mountain bike race and it remains to be seen what his next move is, with the Southern 100 on the horizon next week at Billown.

Bike Week runs from August 8-13 and includes the Dundrod 150 National meeting on Thursday, August 11. Tickets are available now via Ticketmaster.



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