Michael Dunlop to ride Hawk Racing Suzuki at major international road races in 2017

Michael Dunlop will ride for Hawk Racing in 2017
Michael Dunlop won the Superbike and Senior races in 2016 to take his tally of Isle of Man TT wins to 13

Michael Dunlop will ride the new GSX-R1000 for the Bennetts Suzuki team at this year's international road races.

The deal sees the Northern Irish rider continue his partnership with the Hawk Racing team for the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix.

The 13-time TT winner and Mountain Course lap record holder will also contest the Southern 100 and the first British Superbike round at Donington.

Dunlop, 27, will test the new machine for the first time on Wednesday.

That shakedown at the team's Mallory Park base will be followed by further test sessions at Cartegena and Almeria in Spain.

The Ballymoney rider won the Superbike and Senior races at last year's Isle of Man TT, setting a new outright lap record of 133.962mph for the circuit in the latter event.

He recorded the first-ever sub-17 minute lap of the course in the week's opening Superbike outing on a BMW.

Dunlop also set a new absolute lap record of 123.207mph for the Triangle circuit during the Superbike race at the North West 200 in 2016.

Michael Dunlop's 2017 schedule with Bennetts Suzuki
British Superbikes first round, Donington Park, 31 March-2 April
North West 200, 7-13 May
Isle of Man TT, 27 May-9 June
Southern 100, 10-13 July
Ulster Grand Prix, 6-12 August

In addition to his TT successes, he boasts five victories at the North West and six triumphs at the Ulster Grand Prix.

"I was chatting with Steve Hicken, the team manager, for a while, and obviously we've worked together a lot before," said Dunlop.

"With the new bike coming out it's been a bit different and we had to gather up exactly what was happening and to see where we were both going to be at this time.

"This is a good team and I know they can take a new bike and get it right. It's going to be interesting this year. I've been helping the team build my own bikes."

Bennetts Suzuki team manager Hicken added: "We've known Michael for a long time and always wanted to work with him again this year, so we're really pleased we've been able to put a deal together.

"We've made good progress already with the development of the new GSX-R1000, and we know the potential is there with the bike, especially with a proven winner like Michael on board."

The Hawk-backed Suzuki outfit will also compete in the British Superbike Championship, with former World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli and reigning British Superstock 1000cc champion Taylor Mackenzie their chosen riders.