North West 200: Glenn Irwin relishing rivalry with Alastair Seeley

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Seeley sees me as a big threat – Irwin

Glenn Irwin says he is determined to get the better of North West 200 rival Alastair Seeley at this year's event.

Seeley will ride a new V4 Ducati for Irwin's former team, PBM, while Irwin competes for Quattro Plant Kawasaki.

Seeley has a record 24 wins but Irwin has won the last three Superbike races.

"I'm not going to turn it into a two-horse battle but if there's one package that I'll not have beating me it's Paul Bird Ducati, especially with Alastair Seeley on it," said BSB rider Irwin.

The 28-year-old added: "It will be nice to race against this new bike on the roads - it's an iconic brand and we want to hear the noise off it.

"To know that Alastair feels he has to be on the best bike to have a chance of beating me - that's a real compliment and gives me extra motivation. It's showing that he sees me as a big threat.

"But it's not just the 'Seeley-Irwin show'. There will be Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison, Michael Dunlop and others too."

Irwin has been in Spain over recent weeks testing the Kawasaki he will ride in the British Superbike Championship this year and is also getting to grips with the Superstock and Supertwin machines he will ride at this year's 90th anniversary North West where he will compete in six races.

"The bike is massively different, as is the respect I'm getting from the team.

"The belief I have been given by everyone at Kawasaki and the Quattro Plant team has been second to none and it is something I have craved for the last few years.

"I see the Ducati team are here [at the North West 200 launch] this year. They never came to anything like this last year for me when I was their rider and I felt so undermined by it.

"To be where I am now is amazing and I'm so looking forward to the season. The bike suits my aggressive nature and allows Glenn irwin to be the best that Glenn Irwin can be.

"I'd never ridden a Superstock 1000 bike in my life but I'm just back from three days' testing at Monteblanco with the tyres I'll be using at the North West and I loved it.

"I'll be testing the Supertwin in Spain also and I'm going to know the Superbike like the back of my hand.

"I was apprehensive about the Superstock 1000 race as I'd never ridden the bike but after the three days at Monteblanco we're not going to be too far away."