Michael Dunlop announces PBM Ducati split ahead of 2022 Isle of Man TT

The number three rider on the TT all-time wins list announced the split with PBM at the Isle of Man TT launch show on Saturday. 

Michael Dunlop

Last night (23 April 2022), Michael Dunlop dropped the bombshell that his deal with Paul Bird Motorsport to ride their Superbike at this year’s Isle of Man TT has collapsed. 

The announcement from Dunlop came at the 2022 IOMTT launch show on Saturday (23 April) night.

Dunlop had been announced to be riding for the PBM team on one of their Ducati Panigale V4 R superbikes at this year’s TT earlier in the year.

The 19-time TT winner is also set to be running his own Supersport programme this year, while his Superstock plans remain unconfirmed. 

The PBM team’s 2022 season did not get off to the best start at the British Superbike season opener in Silverstone last weekend. Despite bringing in Tom Sykes to replace their strongest rider of 2021, Christian Iddon, and retaining two-time BSB champion Josh Brookes for their 2022 rider line-up, the Ducati team struggled to find even top-10 pace. 

With this new revelation from Dunlop - who had already tested the Ducati, and has not announced any alternative plans in place of the now-voided PBM deal - it is fair to say that 2022 for the multiple national champion team has not gotten off to the best start. 

It is also unconfirmed for now whether PBM will find another rider to replace Dunlop at the TT. Of course, Josh Brookes has some TT experience, but the Australian had been absent for some years from the Snaefell course even before the pandemic’s interruption. 

With little over a month before the TT fortnight gets started, there is also not a lot of time for PBM to go out and find a rider for their Panigale, and complete a sufficient testing programme to get that rider comfortable on the bike, to be ready for the TT.

Similarly, from Dunlop’s side, there is limited time to sort out new superbike plans in time for the start of TT, which begins on 29 May 2022.