D3O Ambassador Michael Dunlop has announced his return to road racing with the aim of making the 2019 season bigger and better than ever. We sat down for a chat with the 18-time Isle of Man TT winner during his recent visit to the D3O lab.
How do you feel about being back?
The last week’s been hectic obviously with the press coming out that I’ve returned again. We’ve been travelling a bit, so it’s been full on, obviously coming over here to visit everyone at D3O. We’re trying to get through it all real quick because we’ve got a new bike coming in. We just have to keep the pressure on and keep going.
What did you think of the reaction to your comeback?
I’ve never been one for dishing through everything, but it’s nice to see I must bring something to the table that people want to see me back again. I do this for ambition, not for fame really. I was happy that I was going to come back, so for me, that’s enough, but it’s nice to see people are trying to get behind you and want you to do the best you can.
What’s next for you?
My biggest focus now is pushing myself to get back on the bike again, it’s been a while since I was on one. I just need to get back out, get a bit of testing done and see where we’re at from there.
When do you expect to start testing?
We’ll go at the end of the month. That’ll be our first test and all being well the bikes will be ready, so we’re getting closer and closer. The days are coming in quick, but soon we’ll start to get the late evenings. With work during the day, I need to do as much in the evenings as I possibly can. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we’ll be ready to rock and roll.
What do you like about your collaboration with Furygan and D3O?
I’m into my seventh year now with Furygan, they’ve been good to me and they build the suit round me. We started working with D3O to make the protection in the suit as comfortable and durable as possible and we’ve all got a good relationship. The suit’s good, the protection in the suit’s been very good and I always say don’t change something that’s not broken.
How important is the gear to you?
In my job, it’s a big thing. It’s why I like to spend some time with Furygan and D3O to make sure all the armour in the suit sits properly. When you’re sitting on a bike for two hours you can become really uncomfortable.
In today’s life, everyone seems to be going round in tight shirts that they’ve borrowed off their small brother. If you’re going to sit out all night jammed into something that not fitting you properly, it’s always in the back of your mind. You might not be thinking about it, but it there.
It’s the same with a race suit – if it’s not 100% right, you’ll know it’s not right. We try and eliminate all the problems, so they don’t upset my rhythm.
Does wearing the best impact protection have an effect on your confidence?
Yeah, it’s the reason why I’m using it. From my suit to my helmet I try and pick the best brands to give me the best protection I can have. When I go down the road it’s what I’m rolling in so everything is always about having the right kit on you.
It’s probably the reason I’m staying [with Furygan]. We’ve got good kit that has been developed over time, we’ve adjusted it and my suit’s becoming like a glove now. If maybe you guys develop something new, we can slip it straight in without any hassle.
What are you hoping to achieve this year?
My main thing is to win races. It always has been and it’s the only reason why I do this job. I love riding motorbikes, but my main aim is to win races. We’ll just try our best and if that’s good enough, great. If it’s not, then it’s my fault really.
And the TT?
The TT’s still getting bigger, it always is getting bigger and it’s always a big goal. You go there to do what you can and when you get there, it’s the biggest road race in the world. It’s getting faster, we just have to go and get faster with it.
For more information on Michael Dunlop, go to Michael Dunlop Racing