Michael Dunlop’s 2014 Season in Doubt

November 22, 2013
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Michael Dunlop may miss the 2014 road racing season. The Northern Ireland rider has not signed a contract to continue with his Honda TT Legends team, with which he campaigned several races in 2013 – including the premier road races as well as select World Endurance rounds. Dunlop also competed and won 2013 races, including Isle of Man TT contests, aboard own MD Racing squad.

After a breakout season that included four Isle of Man TT wins as well as wins in the Ulster Grand Prix and North West 200, Michael Dunlop may sit out the 2014 road season.

Addressing his 2014 racing plans, Dunlop issued a press release on November 19th. As reported by the Isle of Man TT website (www.iomtt.com) Dunlop states:

“Just a quick message to let everyone know the situation regarding the 2014 racing season. There has been much speculation about my plans for next year and I have decided to let all my loyal sponsors, team members and fans know exactly where I am at currently.

“I have not signed any contracts for 2014 mainly due to various complications attached to each offer put to me. I am disappointed to be in this situation, especially after the tremendous season I enjoyed in 2013 and the success I achieved.

“However, I am as keen as ever to go race motorbikes but sadly at this moment in time I will not be racing in 2014.

“If something materializes I might consider to comeback if am ready and it’s the right package but till that I hope to be back in 2015 or if not 2016.

“I have worked extremely hard to get to this level in road racing and unless I feel I have the right equipment and structure under me I won’t race at all.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported me through thick and thin there is to many to name but I will see them to express my thanks and I hope we’ll be back on the top step as soon as am back.”

Son of Robert Dunlop and nephew of Joey Dunlop, the 24-year-old Michael had a breakout season in 2013. His Isle of Man TT campaign included four TT victories, bringing his career tally to seven. The only TT race Dunlop did not win was the Senior TT, claimed by his own Honda TT Legends teammate, John McGuinness. Dunlop’s 2013 victories included a Supersport victory at the North West 200 and Superstock win at the Ulster Grand Prix.

In an extensive interview with the BBC, Dunlop states the decision to sit out 2014 is not an announcement of retirement from the sport. He also does not rule out returning for 2014, provided the right support structure is in place.

Dunlop did not extend his deal with the Honda TT Legends team. Other high-profile seats in the international road ranks are already filled, including the Tyco Suzuki duo of Guy Martin and Dunlop’s brother, William Dunlop.