Michael Dunlop Announces He Won’t Race in 2014

11/19/2013 @ 3:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS


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.”

Source: IOMTT; Photo: © 2013 Kevin Warren / Digital Press Images — All Rights Reserved

  • KSW


    Good on you mate for taking a stand is how I’d like to start off with this little comment. I say having been lucky enough to now call my self a regular at the infamous Isle of Man TT and being lucky enough to photograph what some would think was Michael’s last race at this years 24 Hours of LeMans Moto. I don’t however think that is the case with the young lad from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.

    For those who think top riders at the TT are some how making big money or much money at all they’d be wrong. Yes, the TT organizers pay riders a stipend for making the race but it’s not much. I’ll leave the names out of this but one of the top riders who won his first race at the 2013 TT is paid less by his top sponsor than they themselves spend on VIP hospitality. Yep, for three thousand pounds you could be the top dog on a top TT riders bike as a sponsor. VIP tickets are 1200 pounds for the full monty and tables are what many buy. That might get you proper accommodation for the entire fortnight if you’re not in a tent but probably not. I know my hotel bill for 17 days is more.

    So, do I think Michael can stay away from motorcycling. No way, he has a shop, is a amazing builder not to mention one of the best all around “road racers” on the planet. I don’t know why people refer to circuit racing like MotoGP/WSBK etc. as “road racing”, it’s not. What I think could be the best outcome of this is that teams and sponsors wake up to the fact that it’s riders like Michael and the others that are putting there life on the line every time they get the tap on the shoulder before heading down Breyhill at 160+ mph not the friends-broethers-cousin sitting in VIP hospitality. The sooner that the racing world starts realizing where the value in there dollar is and should be spent the better off the industry will be. Hell, umbrella girls at the MGP level make more than a TT rider and if that’s not the most twisted thing in racing, please list yours here in the A&R comments.

    Michael, I wish you all the best mate and look forward to seeing you again in 2014 with your head held high and those balls the size of watermelons swinging gleefully in those nattered sweat pants of yours.

  • “If something materialises [sic]”

    The ‘sic’ is unnecessary, as it is not a misspelling. British English is like that. Same language, different colour. ;-)

  • Bill

    While I have not seen the offers I find it hard to believe he does not feel the Milwaukee Yamaha, or Tyco Suzuki teams are not competitive. Guy Martin did beat him several times in multiple classes, in particular at the UGP and the Southern 100 this past year. Which makes it about money. Seems Yamaha had a truck load of cash they were throwing at him. Did he want McGuinness money for road racing? Maybe but one amazing year does not match over 20 TT wins. I like to watch him ride, I also love to root against him. I do hope he finds a ride and we can see some scraps with the other guys.

  • KSW


    It may be about money or how much money those working on his behalf want for that. What he gets from product lines like clothing/hats/etc… What we end up knowing will depend on what Michael is willing to share and I doubt the man will ever share much with those he doesn’t trust and that would be but a few. In the end I still say we’ll see him on track at some point, sooner rather than later. I hold to my statement above about how little those guys actually get paid. John McG is the only exception and rightly so but John is more like Valentino when it comes to turning products into profits just look at all those TT Legends wearing fans v. the others on the Isle during the fortnight.

  • TexusTim

    no doubt he will be on someones bike at the start of the season for 2014. ulitmatums are simply last ditch negoteations or letting the “world” know your available…he should try for a moto2 team..o waite is isnt spanish never mind…lol

  • JackOat

    KSW, I agree. The fact that MD is unlikely to ever be like McPint is one thing, but his character is great to see and hear. Working for Honda and the TT Legends seems to have knocked some rough edges off and what pleases me about this story is that I actually thought he would not step up to the factory-type rides and stay a clubman all his life, as if to mimic Joey in what is now a very different world.
    As to the level of payment – how many people could do what he does? He clearly loves the sport and has the talent. To say he hasn’t yet earned it is a bit like saying you have to get 10 No.1 hits before you deserve a recording contract that pays big bucks. He’s there. He has arrived. Somebody please sponsor and pay the man. He’s a star and deserves the rewards. I think I would find watching a programme about MD a lot less grating than some of those Martin has done. MD would be like Ozzie Osbourne for road racing – he just needs a Sharon.

  • Trane, I can hand the extra u’s, but s instead of z? That’s just too far!

  • LOL, Jensen. :)

    Get out the tyre warmers, brollies and wellies!

  • Rider

    Hope he gets the comeback he deserves. Defiantly one of the best road racers to watch.

  • L2C

    “As to the level of payment – how many people could do what he does? He clearly loves the sport and has the talent. To say he hasn’t yet earned it is a bit like saying you have to get 10 No.1 hits before you deserve a recording contract that pays big bucks. He’s there. He has arrived.”


    No doubt about that, but his celebrity status is most certainly not “next-level” . This is a cultural complication that he will either be fortunate/lucky enough to negotiate or not. The vast majority of next-level talents in the world are not so lucky when it comes to achieving mainstream success. How many great jazz musicians toil away their years to little or no commercial success? They are called musician’s musicians because generally their talent is only recognized by other musicians and local jazz aficionados.

    Same thing applies in Dunlop’s situation, with the exception that he has had been fortunate enough to be successful on the the global stage, but unless he can make the connection with mainstream fans and sponsors, he won’t achieve the financial security that he seems to deserve. Even the factory teams that he chooses to race for won’t do as much for him as a rider’s rider than they would if he were somebody that everybody loved.

    This is mainly a feature of Western cultures. If one has the ability to appeal to large masses of people, that could very well be the only thing that they would have to remain good at. Meanwhile, off camera, society would continue to punish others who are far more worthy of the rewards.

    I think it would be a major mistake if Dunlop sat out 2014. 2015 could turn out to be the year that many racings fans say, “Hey, remember that Dunlop guy from 2013?” I’m sure he doesn’t want that. He needs to keep building momentum.

    Being a racing fan, I only found out about Dunlop this year. From this site and the weeklong Isle of Man TT coverage on Velocity channel. I’m probalbly not the only one who found out about him this way.