Michael Dunlop joins Honda TT Legends Team
Motorsport report by Tony Gregory
As the Honda TT Legends team prepares to enter its third year of competition, Honda Motor Europe has revealed that Ulsterman, Michael Dunlop will join the five-strong rider line-up for 2013. The team will once again compete in the Endurance World Championship as well as the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200 road races aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The new-look team was unveiled at Motorcycle Live in the UK as Dunlop, McGuinness, Andrews and Rutter took to the main stage for a Q&A with TT commentator James Whitham. Cameron Donald was unable to attend as he is at home enjoying the Australian summer. The updated livery for the Honda TT Legends machine was also revealed – a tri-colour design that replicates that of the 2013 production Fireblade, re-affirming the close affinity between the race machine and its road-going relative.
The three-time TT winner will help form a three-man Superbike squad for the Isle of Man TT and the NW200 with 13 time NW200 winner and three-time TT victor Michael Rutter and nineteen time Isle of Man winner John McGuinness. Dunlop commented “This is a big opportunity for me with both Honda and Dunlop and it‘s an honour to be riding for them so I‘m looking forward to getting started. People are asking me how it will be for me having John as a team-mate but when we get on the bike it will be the same. I get on well with John but I don‘t worry about anybody else when I‘m on track. As a team we‘ve got a great line-up with Rutter as well so it‘ll be a pretty good show.”
John McGuinness, road racing ace Cameron Donald and 2011 fastest TT newcomer Simon Andrews will remain with the Honda TT Legends for the four-round EWC season with Rutter joining the team to complete the four-man EWC rider line-up.
Neil Tuxworth Honda Legends team manager commented “We‘re very pleased to have a really strong team both for World Endurance and the road races this year. The team that we‘ve put together for both disciplines means we are in a much stronger position than last year.”
“Bringing Rutter into the EWC team is a very positive addition, he‘s a rider with a lot of experience, he‘s quick but also safe and we feel he will improve the strength of the team all round. Looking at the road racing, we‘ve haven‘t run a three-man squad for a number of years now. It‘s quite significant that not only are we running three riders but we are bringing Michael Dunlop in as one of those three. He‘s a young rider that already has three TT wins under his belt and we feel that he is the future of road racing. With Dunlop, McGuinness and Rutter – who of course have both been very successful on the roads – we have a very strong line-up for 2013.”