William Dunlop has split with the CD Racing Yamaha squad on the eve of this year’s North West 200, parting with long-time sponsor Chris Down and his superbike and supersport machinery.
Remaining muted on the decision for the parting, Dunlop will nonetheless still make the grid for today’s opening practice session, on both the MSS Kawasaki Superstock machine and on a new R6 he has secured speaking in an eleventh hour deal.
However, with no practice whatsoever on the machine, he says in his column for today’s Belfast Newsletter that he’s in for a tough week at his home race.
“We’ll need to get the R6 dialled in and it’s not ideal because we’re coming up quickly to the first races on Thursday and Saturday and things never work out perfectly – you’ll always have wee issues that need to be ironed out.
“It’s much better though having the chance to ride the bike here rather than going straight to the Isle of Man TT with no track time at all.”
Practice for the event kicks off today, continuing to Thursday, with tracing on Thursday afternoon and Saturday around the Northern Irish circuit.