Although Michael Dunlop has still not revealed his own 2017 race plans, the winner of last year’s Superbike and Senior TTs has announced a new protégé for this season.
The 13 times TT winner is set to run 23 year old Ulster rider Carl Phillips under his MD Racing banner in the British Superstock championship. Phillips, who was runner up in the Junior Superstock title race on a Sandown Kawasaki in 2016, will ride what Dunlop says will be a 'sister machine' to his in the stocker series.
The Mountain course lap record holder rode for the Hawk BMW squad last year but Stuart and Steve Hicken’s team has now moved to Suzuki under the Bennetts Racing banner. Although his new deal with Phillips suggests the Ballymoney man has finalised a deal for his 2017 roads campaign, Dunlop remained tight lipped as he announced his new signing at the NI Motorcycle Festival in Belfast at the weekend.
“It’s a big deal.” 23 year old Phillips said.
Phillips cut his racing teeth on minimotos, winning the 2014 Irish Supersport championship before moving to the British series.
“I’ve never ridden a 1000cc bike before but this is an amazing opportunity.” he said.
“Michael has taken me under his wing and it will be a big experience to have his support.”
“Carl is a good talent and I think he deserves a chance.” Dunlop said.
“I like the way he goes about his business. He was unlucky not win the stock 600cc championship last year and I’d like to think that we can get him pushing to the front this year.”