Michael Dunlop to ride new R1 Yamaha in 2015

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11 times TT winner Michael Dunlop will race the new Yamaha YZF R1 superbike in 2015.

The 25 year old has just announced that he has agreed terms to ride the all new Japanese superbike on the roads under the banner of Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha team.

“I’ve seen the new bike and it looks very neat.”  Dunlop said after the contract signing today.

“I’m not sure when my superbike will be built and the testing will start but I am really looking forward to riding it. Shaun has itchy feet to get going as well and I am really looking forward to the challenge of going to the TT and winning for him.”

The news brings to a close weeks of rumours about what machinery the Ballymoney man would ride this season after splitting from BMW at the end of 2014. Kawasaki, Suzuki and even BMW were all known to have been chasing Dunlop’s signature but it seems the lure of a brand new model has swayed his decision.

“Michael Dunlop has proved himself to be the leading road racer over the last few years and his recent TT record is second to none.” a delighted Shaun Muir said. 

“We are really confident that the new Yamaha will prove to be more than competitive on the Isle of Man and in Michael we have the rider to deliver its potential.”

There was no mention of the Supersport or Superstock classes in today’s release but it seems likely that the current TT lap record holder in both classes will also be Yamaha mounted in those races in 2015.

Dunlop won his first TT on a R6 Yamaha in 2009, repeating that Yamaha Supersport race win in 2011 alongside a Superstock victory on a Kawasaki.

This shift to Yamaha for 2015 means road racing’s top star will be riding his fourth different marque in as many years. In 2011 Dunlop rode a Kawasaki ZX10 in Paul Bird’s colours before shifting to the factory Honda team the following year. He won the Superbike TT on the TT Legends Fireblade as well as both Supersport races and the Superstock event as he romped to a four-timer.

After splitting from Neil Tuxworth’s squad he joined the Motorrad/ Hawk BMW team for 2014. Dunlop won the Superbike and Superstock races on the S1000RR at the North West 200 before taking his tally of Island wins to 11 with Superbike, Superstock and Senior TT wins on the German superbike alongside a Supersport victory on a Honda CBR600RR.

The question now will be can Dunlop repeat those feats in 2015 for yet another different manufacturer.

Stephen Davison

By Stephen Davison

Biographer of John McGuinness & road racing's foremost writer & photographer