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Michael Dunlop tested the Suzuki GSX-RR at Sepang earlier this month, joining the MotoGP team for its first winter test of 2018, as the Japanese manufacturer thanked the Northern Irishman for his performances onboard the new GSX-R1000 in 2017.

Dunlop took victory in the 2017 Senior TT on the Isle of Man, with a best lap of 132.903mph. He also took a hat-trick of wins at the Southern 100 and a brace of victories at the Armoy road races, in only the first year of competition for the new GSX-R1000.

Grateful for his input into the bike’s development, as well as his racing successes, Suzuki invited the Northern Irishman to its first MotoGP test of the year, where he rode the GSX-RR prototype.

Michael Dunlop after testing Suzuki GSX-RR motorbike

He said afterwards, “Very good, the bike’s really good. It’s very different to what I’m used to, with the seamless gearbox and stuff like that. That seamless gearbox is just unbelievable. I enjoyed it, really enjoyed it.

“I was learning the track at the same time, but it was nice to have the experience of riding a grand prix bike. I can’t complain about that. Although I’m not used to this weather.

“It’s a nice circuit. It’s my first time here, and it’s hard to learn just because it’s so left-right-left-right, and everything’s linked to everything else, so you’ve got to get your lines right. It’d be a really nice circuit to ride hard on, and the bike felt really good. The electronics are so advanced. But it’s a nice surprise and a privilege to get a ride on it.”

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