Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Michael Dunlop will not be rushed on future

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Jim Gracey

Published 20/01/2014

Michael Dunlop
Michael Dunlop

If you want an insight into the psyche of top road racer Michael Dunlop, take a look at his Twitter account. Until a few weeks ago, Michael followed no-one, just like on the track, and now it is only this newspaper's bikes correspondent Paul Lindsay, a compliment indeed.

Michael is his own man, as all road racers tend to be, life and limb being too precious to trust to others.

We saw that very much with Michael and his brother William as they stubbornly resisted all attempts to prevent them taking to the North West grid, less than 48 hours after the crash on the same course that claimed their legend dad Robert.

Michael's win that day remains the bravest, most courageous sporting feat I have chronicled in 35 years in this game.

Now with a new bike racing season looming and still no sign of a mount for Michael, all and sundry are pressing him to make a commitment to thrill us again in 2014.

But indecision and hurried judgements are not an option at 180mph.

Michael has previously spoken of finding the lows after the highs hard to deal with, in the wake of his four TT wins in a week last summer. His stalling is clearly not a tactic to get a better deal; his value is well known.

So maybe now is the time for him to make another exception and follow his heart and head with regard to his future in road racing. If they are telling him they're not in it, he should heed them. If not, go with them.

Soon the bikes will be rolled out again and I suspect the rumble of the engines and desire in the Dunlop DNA to make them go faster will prove too strong an elixir to resist. But the decision must be his and his alone.

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