Local racers relishing the chance to go head-to-head with Michael Dunlop

Andrew Murphy is looking forward to racing in the same class as Michael Dunlop in this weekend’s Dunlop Masters Irish Superbike championship meeting at Mondello Park.

Murphy is currently third in the Supersport Pro class on his Yamaha R6. So far this season, over the course of his six races he has taken three third places, a fourth and one non-finish.

He is behind championship leaders Kevin Keyes and Mike Browne in the title race but their ranks will be boosted this weekend by the first appearance for a number of years by Michael Dunlop.

The road racing legend is using this weekend’s Dunlop meeting as a high-speed test ahead of the Cookstown 100 in just over two weeks’ time.

Last time out, at the Armoy Road races Dunlop won the two Supersport 600cc races on his Yamaha R6 and will be aiming for a repeat performance in Cookstown.

“Bring him on,” said Murphy. “Some people would say having Michael there will upset the championship but you always want to measure yourself against these kind of racers. It will mix it up a bit, it is a long time since he raced at Mondello, this will throw a spanner in the works.”

Robert O’Connell will also share the same grid space as Dunlop. Although the Tralee racer is contesting the Supersport Cup category, and is currently second in the championship standings, both Pro and Cup class rides race in the same events.

He still has engine trouble since he last outing in August.

“I am still on the borrowed engine as my own parts still haven’t landed,” he said. “My aim for the weekend is to get off the line clean and try tag on the front lads, my times are close, but my starts are really leaving me down.”

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