'An honour to share TT record with Joey' - Dunlop

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop will compete in a further seven TT races this week [Pacemaker]

History-making Isle of Man TT rider Michael Dunlop says "it is an honour" to join his uncle Joey as the most successful rider ever at the famous international public roads racing event.

Michael won Saturday's opening Supersport race to match Joey on 26 career wins over the daunting Mountain Course.

The 35-year-old will compete in a further seven races at this year's TT, affording him several opportunities to create a new landmark.

Joey, widely considered one of the greatest motorcycle racers, died in 2000 aged 48 when competing in Estonia.

"It takes a bit of the pressure off now. It's something that has been looming now for a full year so it's good to get it," Michael told BBC Sport NI after winning the four-lap race by 8.5 seconds from runner-up Davey Todd.

"Everyone wants to strive to be Joey round here and to be there now, to be one of the most successful around the TT circuit, to share it with Joey, is an honour.

"Regarding what happens for the rest of the week now, I don't care."

'I knew it was going to be hard work'

Dunlop has been suffering from the effects of a wrist injury sustained in a crash at the Cookstown 100 Irish national road races in late April, but shrugged off the problem to romp home to a record 12th Supersport race victory and a fifth in succession in the class, riding the R6 Yamaha run by his own MD Racing team.

"I'm carrying an injury and I thought that definitely at the TT it was going to be hard work, and it was, there's no doubt about it," explained the Northern Irishman.

"These boys are doing BSB [British Superbikes] with their factory rides and sometimes you wonder 'are you doing it alright yourself, is what you're doing right or wrong', but now I have the record machine, it's mine, I own it, and it's going to sit in my house.

"I may not have put in the miles beforehand that I should have but I'm happy."

Dunlop could surpass his uncle's tally in Sunday's six-lap Superbike race, and will also take in both Superstock events, the two Supertwins outings, Supersport race two and the blue riband Senior TT.

"I will give the next seven races 110 per cent, we've got to keep pushing. Winning races is what I'm here to do, whether it be one or eight.

"There is always pressure to win round the Isle of Man and to do it all ourselves and work really hard at it, I think we do a good job."

Michael dedicated his record-equalling triumph to his late grandmother May, who passed away in December.

"I've got different emotions," he added. "One of my biggest supporters was my granny and it's a pity I didn't do it last year for her to see it."

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Joey Dunlop's family conveyed their congratulations to Michael on his achievement.

"Huge congratulations to Michael on equalling Joey's record of 26 TT wins from Linda [Joey's wife] and family," they said.