Michael Dunlop says all must be right for him to race in 2014

Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop says "everything will have to be right" for him to compete in the 2014 road racing season as the chances of him participating next year continue to appear in major doubt.

Dunlop won four Isle of Man TT races this year but he has been unable to agree a contract extension with Honda.

"At the end of the day it's my life on the line," Dunlop, 24, told BBC Sport NI in a wide-ranging interview.

Dunlop also admitted he has struggled for motivation in recent months.

"At this moment in time, nothing has come up that fulfils what I want to do.

"Also, I need to make sure that I'm going to enjoy myself so those factors are really my reasoning."

Dunlop made clear that he has not retired from the sport, adding that he had attempted to "lie low" in recent months but that his high profile had led to others "making a big deal" about his reluctance to commit to a 2014 deal.

"There's a difference between retirement and thinking if it's not going to work (for 2014), that it's not going to work.

"That's why I didn't want to make a big deal of it but everybody else seems to have done that."

Dunlop brushed aside suggestions that money was the main reason why he has failed to conclude a deal with the Honda factory team or that he has been attempting to generate publicity by prevaricating on his 2014 plans.

"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."

The Ballymoney man acknowledged that he has had to battle with coming down from the highs of his motorcycling triumphs.

"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."

Dunlop hails from road racing's most famous family dynasty but one which has endured tragedy with his own father Robert dying at the 2008 North West 200 meeting, some eight years after the death of his legendary uncle Joey at a race in Estonia.

But with the sport in his blood, Michael Dunlop admits that he will almost certainly return to the sport in the future, even if he does opt to sit out the 2014 campaign.

"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.

"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."

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