Exclusive: No BMW ride for Dunlop in 2015
MCN can reveal that 11 times TT winner Michael Dunlop is without a job for the 2015 season. The 25 year old, who had originally signed only a one year contract with the German manufacturer, is losing his BMW ride for the North West 200, TT and Ulster Grand Prix races after it was revealed that the Buildbase Hawk BMW squad he was contracted to this year is rumoured to be replaced by the Northern Ireland-based TAS team as BMW’s officially supported team for next year’s BSB and road racing campaigns.
The Ballymoney man, who won two North West 200 races and the Superbike, Superstock and Senior TTs on Stuart Hicken’s Buildbase Hawk prepared BMW S1000RRs in 2014, is expected to be replaced by the TAS team’s current road riders, Guy Martin and Michael’s elder brother, William.
The sensational shift to BMW would see TAS sever their longstanding relationship with the Suzuki factory, which is rumoured to focus its racing budget and resources on a return to the MotoGP series.
A full announcement on the TAS team’s 2015 plans is expected later in the week when it will be revealed whether the squad’s current sponsors, Tyco, are to continue their backing.
Update: BMW Motorrad have released the following statement to MCN:
"BMW Motorrad expanding its racing efforts in the UK
In 2014, BMW Motorrad UK enjoyed its most successful season of motorcycle racing ever. The BMW / Hawk Racing Team won twice at the North West 200 with Michael Dunlop, who then went on to even greater glory taking the Superbike, Superstock and Senior TT titles at the Isle of Man. Ryuichi Kiyonari finished second in the MCE British Superbike championship after celebrating the BMW S 1000 RR’s maiden superbike win and ending the season taking a total of seven race victories. BMW supported teams in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 championship, achieving race wins with Lee Jackson from Buildbase BMW and Hudson Kennaugh from Linxcel Trik Moto Racing.
BMW Motorrad UK will be expanding its race programme in the UK and Ireland for 2015. This programme of racing activity will include a concentrated effort towards winning the British Superbike Championship while also providing a strong defence of the International road race victories of 2014.
BMW Motorrad UK will also continue to support a number of teams and riders using our products through the International Customer Racing Programme, providing technical and product support to teams and riders who represent the BMW brand in the appropriate way.
Due to contractual restraints we are unable to make a full team announcement at this time but full details of our plans for next season will be communicated in the very near future."