Confirmation last Tuesday that Michael Dunlop had agreed terms to ride a Superbike for Northern Ireland’s Tyco BMW team took many within the road racing community by surprise.
The Ballymoney rider had been heavily linked with a move to Philip and Hector Neill’s TAS Racing squad throughout the winter, but in some quarters it still seemed inconceivable that the 15-time Isle of Man TT winner would make the switch.
The relationship between both parties has been less than cordial over the years, with Dunlop himself acknowledging the existence of a ‘feisty’ divide.
However, past differences have been set aside and upon closer scrutiny, the alliance between Dunlop and TAS Racing is not so implausible.
The 28-year-old brushed aside any perceived complexities around the association when he summed up the motivation behind the deal perfectly, stating: “I want to do a job, they need a job done and it is very simple.”
The country’s top road racer has now joined forces with Ireland’s biggest and most successful race team.
In the words of Philip Neill, it was almost inevitable.
Both have the same goal, which is simply to win as many races as possible. With that in mind, circumstances this year dictate that they are stronger together.
Dunlop’s formidable record on BMW machines, coupled with the support of the German marque’s official international roads team behind him, means his rivals now face an even tougher task if they’re to knock him off his TT perch in June.