Dunlop breaks silence as debate rages over future

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop has adopted a philosophical standpoint as the debate rages over where the international road racing specialist will ply his trade in 2014 or indeed if he will race at all.

Honda boss Neil Tuxworth has said the 24-year-old - who won four Isle of Man TT races in the same week on CBR600RR and Fireblade machinery in June - won’t ride in an official capacity for the manufacturer next year.

Dunlop has remained tight-lipped on his future plans since the end of the season but nonetheless has become the centre of attention following Tuxworth’s statement.

Speaking last Wednesday Milwaukee Yamaha boss Shaun Muir said that he wouldn’t rule out a move for a rider of Dunlop’s calibre, while Buildbase BMW are also keen on signing the Northern Ireland rider.

Ultimately, Dunlop may revert back to running his own stable of private machines under the MD Racing banner, but right now the gifted young sportsman has other more pressing matters on his mind.

“My whole life, especially over the last five years, has been a whirlwind and even before next season gets under way I will be 25-years-old,” Dunlop said.

“There’s a lot going on in my personal life at the moment and I’m not looking for people’s sympathy, it’s just that I have to get my priorities in place before I can turn my full attention to racing.

“There are some teams trying to get me signed up, which I really appreciate, but hopefully they can be a bit more patient and understanding with me.

“I feel I have to do what’s right for Michael Dunlop and my future at the moment. If I miss out, then so be it - I will take a year out,” he added in his latest column for Road Racing Ireland Magazine.

“For every road racer winning a TT is the ultimate goal in our sport as we can’t achieve anything higher at the moment and there’s nobody who wants TT success more than I do.

“I have won seven TT races, I hold four TT race records and two lap records and I know there’s so much more to come from me around the Mountain Course. I can assure everyone I want to win more TTs, but I also want to enjoy the occasion with the right people around me.”

Dunlop’s ability to win TT races across the main solo classes was demonstrated to devastating effect on the Mountain Course in the summer as he claimed a Supersport brace in addition to a breakthrough Superbike triumph plus a record-breaking Superstock success.

It was a defining week in his career that established him as the number one road racer in the world.

His future may be in the balance, but if history has proved anything it’s that the Dunlops emerge from adversity stronger than ever.