Eighteen-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop will miss the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
The Ballymoney rider has not raced since the tragic death of his brother, William, following a crash in practice at the Skerries 100 last month and sat out his home event at Armoy.
Race organisers at Dundrod said they were unable to confirm his participation at the last of the ‘big three’ major international road races of the season and the 29-year-old is set to give the event a miss. On Tuesday evening, Dunlop did not attend the compulsory riders briefing in the paddock.
He had been due to ride for the Moneymore-based Tyco BMW team in the Superbike class along with his own MD Racing Superstock and Supersport machines.
Last week, it was confirmed that Australian David Johnson would compete on the 215bhp carbon frame HP4 Race machine for the Ulster team.
Johnson – who rode for Shaun Muir’s Gulf BMW squad at the North West 200 and TT – is targeting his maiden Ulster Grand Prix podium.
He achieved his best result at Dundrod with fourth last year in the Superstock race.
The 34-year-old was in excellent form at the TT in June, where he finished fourth in the Superbike and Superstock races.
Tyco BMW team principal Philip Neill said: “We’re obviously looking forward to working with David Johnson at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix, and it will be nice for the fans to get to see the HP4 Race in Tyco BMW livery, lapping around the famous Dundrod circuit.
“It was a deal that came about at the eleventh hour to be truly honest, but we’re glad we can support the event and in turn, represent our sponsors Tyco and BMW Motorrad in an official capacity.
“We know Davo’s pedigree as a rider and he’s obviously ridden BMW Motorrad machinery previously, so let’s enjoy it and see what we can achieve together.”
Johnson, who suffered a string of injuries following a crash at Dundrod in 2016 on the Wilson Craig Honda, said he hopes to challenge Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison for the podium.
“It’s always hard to know until you get there, but for me the big goal is to get on the podium and be in the fight for wins with ‘Hicky’, Dean and guys right at the front. If we come away with that I’ll be happy.”