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More Teams Announced for 2017 Isle of Man TT
As Ireland's NorthWest 200 draws closer, more and more team-rider contracts have been announced. Some of the announcement highlights for this year so far include 2 new bikes, a promising rookie and the return of fan favorite Guy Martin, just to name a few.
Martin to Honda
Although he didn't compete last year, Guy Martin will return to the TT this year aboard the all new 2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. Earlier this month Martin inked a deal with Honda Racing Europe where he will join teammate and TT Legend John McGuinness. Another deal has also been officially penned with Martin to pilot the Mugen electric Superbike for the Zero Emissions TT this year. While Martin has bagged countless podium finishes, the Lincolnshire native has yet to actually win a TT, so with solid team backing, an additional chance aboard the Mugen and the new SP2, this may finally be his year.
Dunlop to Bennetts Suzuki
Last week Michael Dunlop of the famous Dunlop family dynasty signed a deal to ride for Bennetts racing this season. Dunlop who has worked with Bennetts management in the past expressed feeling optimistic about his team's chances for this year. The 27 year old Northern Irishman will be riding the new 2017 Suzuki GSXR1000 with its new full electronic suite and variable valve timing. If Suzuki's recent MotoGP success is any indication of the manufacturers ability to produce a competitive machine, Bennetts and Dunlop should have a satisfying season.
Thompson to IRL
18 year old Joe Thompson will be making his TT debut for IRL (Ian Lougher Racing) about the Kawasaki ZX10R. The York resident will be the youngest rider on the 2017 grid and fans have high expectations for the TT rookie. With an impressive 10 TT wins, team owner Ian Lougher should be able to take Thompson under his wing and share some important tips with the young rider to help him get adjusted to one of the worlds most demanding (and deadly) races.
Norton signs Aussies
Norton will be throwing its hat in the TT ring again this year with their highly anticipated SG6 (V4) machine. The iconic British manufacturer has struck a deal with Aussies David Johnson and Josh Brookes, two riders who have earned their reputations through a myriad of wins in various events. Norton is the first modern company to join Aprillia in the V4 Superbike market as their V4 SS (bike the SG6 was derived from) just became available to the public and simply put, its truly a thing of beauty in both form and function.
Other Usual SuspecTTs
Other less notable contracts from the past month include Smiths Racing BMW signing Peter Hickman, Lee Johnston riding for Jackson Honda, and Dan Kneen joining the Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Racing. With a handful of promising contenders, the entry of a rookie and return of a favorite, two new bikes and a highly competitive grid, it should be a good year for road racing.