Dunlop announces shock 2014 sabbatical

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Michael Dunlop has shockingly announced that he will take a sabbatical for 2014 after failing to secure a deal that he was happy with.

In a statement released online, the seven times TT winner said that “due to various complications attached to each offer” he received, he will sit out the season before making a return in 2015.

As Honda team boss Neil Tuxworth revealed to MCN earlier this month, a number of deals offered to the Ballymoney man were rejected. “We put two or three deals to Michael but he turned them all down. He decided that he didn’t want to stay with Honda.”

However, not ruling out the possibility of a 2014 appearance, Dunlop says that there is still a chance if the right package comes along for him.

“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 I might consider coming back, if I am ready and it's the right package, but till that I hope to be back in 2015. 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.”

Having expressed a desire to return to his roots at Irish national races, some have speculated that this could see Dunlop return to two stroke machinery for some of his home races.

Dunlop was released by the Honda TT Legends team weeks ago, and paddock speculation was that he was in talks with Yamaha, BMW ad Suzuki machinery for next year.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer