Michael Dunlop has signed on to Bennetts Suzuki for the 2017 Isle of Man TT (IOMTT) and may be riding their new 2017 GSX-R1000R, a special high performance version of the GSX-R1000 which Suzuki calls “The Ultimate GSX-R”.

The Irish racer turns 28 years old in April and has struck a blazing bond with BMW’s S1000RR for the past several years. In 2015, Michael Dunlop was slated to ride for Milwaukee Yamaha; due to the YZF-R1 breaking down on him during practice, he caused a stir by leaving the Yamaha team mere days before the opening race in order to rejoin Buildbase BMW.

Michael Dunlop took his thirteenth TT win last year whilst also setting new world records on the grueling mountain course. On a Buildbase Hawk Racing BMW S1000RR, Michael Dunlop set the world record in 2016 for overall fastest lap which he achieved under 17 minutes at 16:53:929 during the Senior TT race. He also records for fastest lap in Superbike TT, as well as fastest Superbike TT race time.

Michael Dunlop piloted the GSX-R1000 superbike for the recent New Zealand Suzuki Series and even set Classic TT records last year on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69, so he has developed a budding relationship with Suzuki’s technology. The 2017 GSX-R1000R is an advanced version packed with performance-oriented bells and whistles including clutchless quick shifting, variable valve timing, and a full electronics suite. It is likely to be the basis of Dunlop’s race bike.

Will Michael Dunlop finally commit to racing another manufacturer’s machine for the Isle of Man TT, and will Suzuki’s cutting edge bike be up for the task? How Dunlop fares in this year’s road racing season will be a good indicator of what the partnership has in store for IOMTT. Michael Dunlop and Bennetts Suzuki’s new superbike will make their road race debut at the 2017 Vauxhall International North West 200.

"I know they can take a new bike and get it right. This is a good team and there’s a good link with Yoshimura. It’s going to be interesting this year,” said Dunlop.

"We've made good progress already with the development of the new GSX-R1000, and we know the potential is there with the bike. With a proven winner like Michael onboard, there's no reason we can't be winning races right away. That's got to be the aim,” said Steven Hicken, Bennetts Suzuki Team Manager.