Smiths Racing BMW contender Peter Hickman heads into this week’s MCE Ulster Grand Prix on a high following his British Superbike victory in race two at Thruxton.

Hickman has been in stunning form this season and finished on the rostrum in all five main solo races at the Isle of Man TT, including two runner-up finishes in the Superbike and Senior races.

The 30-year-old won the second Superbike race at Dundrod in 2015and will take his place on the grid at the fastest road race in the world as one of the hot favourites.

Hickman, who will ride the Smiths BMW and Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport races, feels Ian Hutchinson’s 2016 outright lap record of 134.089mph will tumble in the right conditions on Saturday at Dundrod.

“I definitely think we could go a lot faster than 134mph. It all depends on the conditions obviously, if we can have a good couple of days of practice and get to Saturday with some good laps under our belt then I don’t see why we can’t push it up to maybe 135 or 136mph,” said the Burton-on-Trent racer.

“It’d be great to have a lap record around a road circuit, apart from my newcomer record at the TT I’ve not had an outright lap record anywhere on the roads so it’d be nice to do something like that and good to do it at the Ulster.

“I’m very happy with where I am and I have the right people around me. Being able to hit the ground running at the start of the season gives you a competitive edge when you go testing and we’ve done a lot of development with the team,” he added.

“Every time I get on the bikes there’s something new to try and that’s a real big part of being able to move forward. It’s been a really strong year for me, the BMW has been working really well, we’ve managed to find a little bit of a sweet spot with it, which makes life a lot easier.”

The Ulster GP is the last of the ‘big three’ international road races of 2017 and Hickman is eager to sign off on a high this week.

“We want to turn up at Dundrod and have some good racing and at least be on the podium a few times and we want wins as well, that’s why we’re turning up. I can’t see why we can’t be in the top three in all the classes,” he said.

“I’m expecting there to be a few of us at the front, and hopefully we’ll put on some good racing for the fans; Michael Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Dan Kneen and Conor Cummins should all be in the mix.

“Dundrod is just an untouched, proper circuit, just as it should be. It’s fast, it’s flowing, it hasn’t had to be adapted with chicanes to try and make it safer; it already is as safe as you can make a road race, even though it is ridiculously fast,” he added.

“It’s just such a good circuit to ride around, it makes me smile from the second I go out. I enjoy riding on the roads so much, it’s so much fun, and I also enjoy the British Superbikes, and I’m fast doing both which is why I get so much excitement from both. For me it’s all about riding bikes as much as possible.”

Practice gets underway on Wednesday with final qualifying plus the Dundrod 150 National races taking place on Thursday, whetting the appetite for the headline bill on Saturday.

 

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