It’s just been revealed that the two-time BSB champion Josh Brookes will ride the Ducati Panigale, originally earmarked for Michael Dunlop, at the North West 200 in a few weeks’ time.
When Michael Dunlop dramatically announced that he wouldn’t be racing the Paul Bird Motorsport Ducati Panigale at the TT and the North West 200, old Birdy was, by all accounts, slightly non-plussed. The reason Dunlop gave for the split was the fact that he’d not spent enough time on the bike, although when questioned further he’s declined to comment. Sceptics will say there’s more to it than that… money, a clash of personalities, politics, who knows? Anyway, the bottom line is this; Dunlop won’t be riding for PBM this year (or probably ever, now).
Dunlop’s withdrawal has opened up a vacancy that Brooksey, who’s already riding for PBM in the British championship, is more than happy to step into, according to Bike Sport News. The plan is to put Josh on the bike for the International North West 200 in May, an event that he’s no stranger to, having scored a couple of podiums there in the past.
There’s no doubt that the Ducati Panigale will be one of the fastest bikes on the nine-mile circuit, and Josh one of the fastest riders. And although some might have concerns with the Panigale’s reliability, when bouncing it off the rev-limiter, the PBM team have managed to do alright in BSB with them, so I think they might just be alright.
I’m sure Michael Dunlop will still be at the North West 200 this year, on one bike or another. What ever he is on, I’m sure he’ll be absolutely desperate to beat Josh Brookes on his PBM Ducati. And Birdy will be desperate for him not to!
Isle of Man TT?
Would a good showing at the NW200 mead we’d be likely to see Josh Brookes and the PMB lads team up for an Isle of Man TT assault? We’ll you’d have to say it’s probably a bit late for a last minute entry to the 2022 TT… but never say never.