After another epic season of racing, MCN’s sports team of Michael Guy (Sports Editor), Simon Patterson (MotoGP Reporter) and Oli Rushby (Superbike Reporter) sat down to discuss who impressed them the most in each race series we cover to establish MCN’s top five riders in each category.
And with this year’s record-breaking road racing season, it wasn’t an easy call to decide who deserved what spot in our top five riders of the year in the class. Here’s what we think - but feel free to disagree with us in the comments!
Roads Rider of the Year: 3rd - Michael Dunlop
Often is the way with the Isle of Man TT that Friday’s Senior race is the only one remembered. And in 2018 that’s the case for good reason, after Peter Hickman narrowly fended off Dean Harrison with that astonishing 135.452mph lap on the final lap of the Senior TT.
Struggling in that blue riband outing, Michael Dunlop’s success from TT 2018 often gets overlooked. The Ballymoney ace still won more mountain course races than anyone else this year, even if he did get bettered in the Senior and not only that, he set lap records on the way to two of those wins.
Winning the first Superbike race for Tyco BMW after retirements from both Harrison and Hickman, Dunlop went on to score two further wins in the Supersport and Lightweight classes, annihilating lap records on both instances.
The Supersport win was impressive. Returning to Honda machinery for the first time since 2013, Dunlop shattered his own, five-year-old lap record to raise the bar to 129.197mph average speed.
Then, racing in the Lightweight class for Paton, Dunlop would shatter another lap record with his 122.750mph lap as he fought for victory with Derek McGee.
Dunlop’s three TT wins saw his victory tally move up to 18, making him the third successful rider in history around the mountain course, behind his Uncle, Joey and John McGuinness.