After failing to secure a deal that he was satisfied with, Michael Dunlop has announced that he will not be racing during the 2014 season. The news comes just weeks after the Honda TT Legends squad released Dunlop, after the two parties failed to agree on a contract after several offers from Honda Europe had been made.
The talk of the 2013 Isle of Man TT, Michael Dunlop had a breakout performance this season, which also saw him competing in the FIM Endurance World Championship for the Honda TT Legends crew. Replacing John McGuinness at the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race, and besting Mr. McPint in the solo classes at the TT, it seemed like Dunlop’s coming of age had arrived.
Unfortunately with no ride in sight for the 2014 season, it would seem Dunlop’s momentum is about to grind to a halt.
At issue is surely the next-level performance Dunlop displayed this year, and the notion of being compensated more generously for it, though admittedly this is a topic we can only speculate upon.
From his language and general demeanor though, one can surmise that Dunlop is not keen to return to the grassroots racing program he has worked so hard to leave, especially when competing at world-stage events.
Citing a lack of opportunities on competitive machines as his main reason for sitting out the season, Dunlop’s position appears to be an all-or-nothing approach.
Whether it is his true position, or simply positioning at the bargaining table remains to be seen though. In his statement, Dunlop leaves the door open for the possibility of still signing a deal for the 2014 season.
Considering what a talent he has grown to become, we have a hard time believing that Dunlop will be on the sidelines for the 2014 Isle of Man TT. However as always, time will tell. His statement is as follows:
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 materialises [sic] I might consider to come back 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.”