Michael Dunlop eyes Superbike charge at Isle of Man TT in 2023

The Ballymoney man became just the third rider in history to claim more than 20 Mountain Course victories after taking victories in both Supersport races in June on his MD Racing Yamaha.

Dunlop also smashed his 2018 lap record in the class, raising the bar to a remarkable 129.47mph as he closes in on his prediction of a 130mph lap on a Supersport machine.

The 33-year-old’s double this year propelled him to 21 total wins, leaving him two behind John McGuinness and five behind his uncle Joey, who remains the most successful TT rider of all time with 26 wins.

Michael Dunlop had a better result in third on the Suzuki Hawk Racing in this year’s Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT.

Dunlop finished on the Superbike TT podium in third place on the Hawk Racing Suzuki this year after securing a deal to race a Ducati Panigale V4R for Paul Bird’s team.

His last premier class success was at the 2018 Superbike TT, when Dunlop triumphed on the Tyco BMW in difficult circumstances for Northern Irish team TAS Racing following the tragic death in practice of Manx rider Dan Kneen.

Since then, Peter Hickman has been the rider to beat in Superbike and Senior TT races and holds the absolute lap record of 135.452 mph.

Dunlop, however, believes he can raise his level with the right preparation and a fully “sorted” Superbike next year.

Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop has won the Isle of Man TT 23 times after claiming his last victories with a one-two finish in Supersport races this year.

“We were supposed to ride a different Superbike but it fell through so we were really on the back foot this year,” Dunlop said.

“Even with the 600 we were pretty on the back foot – the bike was pretty good but we probably didn’t have enough time when we thought we should have.

“The problem is I don’t have much choice because I probably pissed off all the team managers, all the constructors, 95% of the paddock and probably most of the TT press people on the island of Man – and I’m socially awkward!

“But it was good and it made me believe that we still have something, and if we get our Superbike sorted out properly, we can get back to riding hard as well.”

Michael Dunlop on his way to victory on his MD Racing Yamaha at Rhencullen in the first Supersport race of this year’s Isle of Man TT.

Dunlop rated himself an ‘underdog’ this year as the TT returned for the first time in 2019 and says it’s getting harder than ever to emerge victorious.

“The work is getting harder and probably 99% of people don’t do road races anymore like we used to,” he added on TT+.

“I learned from the legacy and I can only trust the way my dad did it and the way Joey did it. These boys drank beer and smoked cigarettes.

“Nowadays people wear sunglasses and everyone is an athlete now.

“I’m the last of the pure road racers, apart from a few other guys back home. But there is no longer anyone from Ireland who comes to win TTs.

On his last success in June, he added: “It was good because I was the only person to break a lap record all week at the TT, so that means we still have the speed. There is definitely more in the tank.

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TT 2022: Michael Dunlop takes famous 20th victory in opening Supersport race…

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