Dunlop tallied up his 21st TT victory in the 2022 event with a double in the Supersport class aboard his own MD Racing Honda, putting him third overall in the win standings and just five away from matching his legendary Uncle Joey’s record.
The Ulsterman was due to contest the big bike classes at the 2022 TT with PBM Ducati, but that fell through at the last minute and he hooked up with Hawk Racing to contest a Suzuki – taking the aging GSXR1000R to third in the Superbike race.
The Dunlop/Hawk Racing tie-up began in 2014, yielding a Superbike double on BMW machinery that year and in 2016, with Dunlop guiding the Suzuki to a Senior TT victory in 2017.
Dunlop will contest Honda machinery in the Superbike class for the first time since 2013, when he won the first Superbike race of the week.
The team switched to Honda machinery for 2023 for its road racing and British Superbike campaigns following Suzuki’s decision last year to end factory support in motorcycle racing.
“It’s good to get my plans sorted in plenty of time this year,” Dunlop said.
“You only have to look at the other boys to see how important it is to be working with a team you’re familiar with and to be up to speed well before you even get to the TT.
“The pace is so high right now, you’ve got to be right at the top of your game from the get go.
“In truth, preparations for last year were not what they should have been.
“Steve and the boys came in to dig me out of a hole at the last minute but we still managed a good result.
“Before then [in 2019] I was still struggling quite bad with [a wrist] injury, so this year will be the first time in a long while where I’m both fully fit and I’m on a bike I’m set with.
“It’s good, I’m excited for it and I think we can put on a good show.”
Dunlop is expected to once again field his own MD Racing team in the Supersport and Superstock classes at TT 2023.