By Robin Miller Bikesportnews
The dramatic parting of the ways between Bird and one of road racing’s greats may have deprived Irish fans from seeing their hero on a Ducati V4 RR but it has delighted Brookes who has jumped at the opportunity given to him by the PBM team to return to the nine-mile triangle.
No stranger to road racing, the Australian has competed on the Isle of Man, including outings on the ‘works’ Norton, and scored a couple of podiums at the North West. On the Ducati V4RR he will be astride one of the fastest bikes on the nine mile circuit and expected by Bird to ‘kick arse’.
The announcement from Dunlop, made at an official launch to promote the TT, that he would not be riding for the PBM team at either event, caused a degree of speculation as to the cause. And in a subsequent conversation with bikesportnews confirming his decision he expressed reluctance to discuss what had happened to a deal which had raised considerable interest and enthusiasm: “I don’t want to say what happened at this stage.”
Speculation from the more cynical suggested the fallout was also related to money, a not-unusual situation in racing and supported by an irritated Bird who said: “Nothing more, nothing less. We will see who is boss at the North West when Josh kicks arse.”
Michael Dunlop testing the PBM Ducati at Bishopscourt in March
Although there is disappointment that Dunlop, winner of 19 TTs, will not be on the Panigale, a machine easily capable of 200mph plus, there is confidence that he will be riding for a first-class – possibly BMW – team capable of winning with a repeat at the TT. And he is scheduled to compete in the BSB support races at Oulton Park this weekend.
North West 200 race director Mervyn Whyte told bikesportnews.com: ”Michael has assured me it is 100 per cent certain he will be turning up on the grid. I don’t know what on but it will be good.”