Dunlop, the third most successful rider in history around the Mountain Course with 19 wins, recently issued a statement via social media claiming he was ‘open to offers’ after announcing he had yet to secure a Superbike ride. The 30-year-old competed in the Superbike class for the Tyco BMW team over the past two seasons but his stint as a TAS Racing rider has not continued into a third year.
The Ballymoney man won the Lightweight race in 2019 on the Italian Paton machine but struggled in the feature races after injuring his wrist in a spill during testing prior to the North West 200. He has been linked with a return to Stuart and Steve Hicken at Hawk Racing as well as Paul Bird’s Ducati team.
Meanwhile, Hutchinson – who is taking part in the official British Superbike test this week on a 600 Yamaha at Monteblanco in Spain – is also set to ride for a new team this year. The 16-time TT winner was part of the Honda Racing squad over the past two years but has been linked with a return to BMW S1000RR machinery.
The Yorkshireman rode a BMW for Shaun Muir under the Milwaukee banner at the Macau Grand Prix in November and is understood to have held talks with Northern Ireland’s TAS Racing team, although Lincolnshire’s Gary Johnson is also strongly linked to the Moneymore-based outfit.
TAS Racing lost its status as BMW UK’s official international road racing team to rivals Smiths Racing and Peter Hickman for 2020, although Philip Neill will still run BMW’s official BSB effort with Taylor Mackenzie and Bradley Ray tasked with returning the team to the Showdown for the first time since 2015.
The TT launch event will be held in a new venue this year at the Mountain View Innovation Centre in Ramsey on Friday, March 27.
ITV4 presenter and double TT winner Steve Plater will host the evening alongside TV presenter and vloggerChris Pritchard.
Along with Dunlop and Hutchinson, confirmed guests include John McGuinness (Quattro Plant Bournemouth Kawasaki); new Honda Racing riders Davey Todd and TT newcomer Glenn Irwin; Conor Cummins, OMG Racing’s David Johnson and James Hillier; Michael Rutter, Lee Johnston and Sidecar kings Ben and Tom Birchall.
The launch event will be streamed live on www.iomttraces.com and is due to commence at 8pm.