Michael Dunlop to sit out 2014 season

Race winner Michael Dunlop on the grid at the North West 200
Race winner Michael Dunlop on the grid at the North West 200

Michael Dunlop has taken to Facebook to announce that he will, as the situation stands, not be racing in 2014. Speculation has been rife over where the Ballymoney rider might end up for next season, having deciding to leave Honda TT Legends after just a year. He had been linked with Milwaukee Yamaha, amongst other teams, but the seven time TT winner put out a statement today to explain his current situation.

“There has been much speculation about my plans for next year,” he started. “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,” he continued. “I am disappointed to be in this situation, especially after the tremendous season I enjoyed in 2013 and the success I achieved.”

Michael Dunlop's Supersport bike at Armoy
Michael Dunlop’s Supersport bike at Armoy

Along with four wins at this year’s TT, Dunlop has enjoyed considerable success throughout the road racing year. He was classified as the winner of the second Supersport race at a truncated North West 200 after just two laps. He shared the spoils with his brother, William Dunlop, in Armoy – where he won both Superbike races – as well as a Superstock victory at the Ulster Grand Prix. He also won a race at the inaugural Classic TT, nursing his bike to the end after suffering from a slipping clutch and oil leak, and beat Guy Martin to the Gold Cup at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough at the end of the Irish road racing season. He became the first Dunlop to win it and only the second Northern Irish man to be victorious there.

He is keen to return, however, should the opportunity arise. “I am as keen as ever to go race motorbikes but sadly at this moment in time I will not be racing in 2014,” he confirmed. “If something materialises I might consider to come back if I am ready and it’s the right package but until that I hope to be back in 2015 and if not 2016.”

He also explained the reasoning behind his decision not to race. “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.”

Dunlop’s statement ended with a word of thanks to those who have supported him over the years.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported me through thick and thin – there is too 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. Many thanks – Michael Dunlop (MD Racing).”

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