Michael Dunlop confirms Bennetts Suzuki deal for 2017

Michael Dunlop has secured a deal with long-time squad Hawk Racing

Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop has secured a deal with long-time squad Hawk Racing to ride the Suzuki GSX-R1000 at the international road races in 2017. 

The Ulster rider's hadn’t outlined his plans for 2017 after Stuart and Steve Hicken switched from BMW to run Suzuki's official British Superbike team, but Dunlop will remain under the Hawk Racing umbrella again this year.

The 27-year-old has won 13 times at the Isle of Man TT and set a new outright lap record last year as he sealed a brace in the Superbike and Senior races.

Dunlop will also ride a Suzuki under his own MD Racing banner in the Superstock class but is yet to announce his choice of manufacturer for the Supersport races. 

“I was chatting with Steve [Hicken - team manager] for a while, and obviously we've worked together a lot before,” Dunlop said. “With the new bike coming it's been a bit different and we had to gather up exactly what was happening. 

“We just needed to see what was going to be able to happen and to see where we were both going to be at this time. I know Steve and I know Stuart though, as people, and I know they can take a new bike and get it right. This is a good team and there's a good link with Yoshimura. It's going to be interesting this year. 

“I've been helping the team build my own bikes and it'll be good to have a run around at Mallory for a shakedown before we go to Spain."

After pre-season testing in Spain Dunlop will also take a wildcard entry into the 2017 BSB opener at Donington Park as part of his preparations for the international road racing season.

“We've known Michael for a long time and always wanted to work with him again this year, so we're really pleased we've been able to put a deal together,” Steve Hicken said. 

“We've made good progress already with the development of the new GSX-R1000, and we know the potential is there with the bike. With a proven winner like Michael on board, there's no reason we can't be winning races right away. That's got to be the aim."

As well as BSB’s Donington Park round Dunlop is confirmed for the North West 200, TT, Southern 100 and Ulster Grand Prix.