Michael Dunlop has said “everything will have to be right” for him to race in the 2014 road racing season.
Speaking to BBC Sport NI, Dunlop, who recently split with the Honda TT Legends squad, admitted that he had suffered from a lack of motivation in recent months, but stressed that he was not retiring from the sport, rather just trying to “lie low” after a strong 2013 season.
“There’s a difference between retirement and thinking if it’s not going to work [for 2014], that it’s not going to work,” Dunlop told BBC Sport. “That’s why I didn’t want to make a big deal of it but everybody else seems to have done that.”
“It’s definitely not about money. When you are dealing with contracts [in road racing], you are arguing over a couple of hundred pounds. Also, I don’t need any more publicity. I do my talking on the track.”
Dunlop took four wins at the 2013 Isle of Man TT races, only being denied of a clean sweep by 20-time winner John McGuinness. The 24-year-old mentioned how he had battled with the come down from his Isle of Man successes.
“I need to make sure that I can get from the high of motorcycling and the lows to have a normal life too. I love racing motorbikes and I will never hide from the sport. But at the end of the day, I need to find a level between racing motorbikes and having a normal life. I give everything to motorcycle racing. There are no holidays or no sun. It’s racing, racing, racing. You can’t go on in life like that. I’m a young man and I want to do different things. I want to get my life sorted.”
Michael is the youngest member of road racing’s most famous family dynasty, with his uncle Joey still holding the record for the most number of TT wins at 26. While Michael is familiar with the highs from the 2013 season, he also endured the lows at the 2008 North West 200, where his father Robert was killed in practice, eight years after Joey died at a little known race in Estonia.
“People say it’s a dangerous sport and that you are mad in the head and if I’m honest, yeah, I have a little touch in the head and I’m probably not the full square,” admitted Dunlop. “But at the end of the day, I’m not battering women or taking drugs. I’ll never be another Joey Dunlop or a Robert Dunlop. They were special men in special times. I’m Michael and that’s who I am going to be.”