Casey Stoner delivered stunning news at the MotoGP press conference at Le Mans, annoucing his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season.
has shocked the Grand Prix racing world by announcing his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season. The Repsol Honda rider broke the surprising news at the pre-race press conference for the Le Mans round.
Stoner cited a lack of passion for the sport and disappointment in the direction MotoGP is heading as driving his decision to leave. The announcement comes after Stoner denied media accounts of his retirement at the previous Estoril round.
The Australian will leave the sport with at least two titles in the premier class, taking his first in 2007 with Ducati and his second last season with Honda. The 26-year-old currently leads the 2012 title chase by one point over rival Jorge Lorenzo.
The stunning news from Stoner shakes up the 2013 rider contracts. Stoner's position at HRC seemed the most secure in the paddock, but his absence opens the door wider for Repsol's Moto2 star Marc Marquez - though rules dictate the rookie must toil one season under a satellite banner. So who will get the coveted Repsol Honda seat?
One rider who won't be leaving MotoGP at the end of the season is Valentino Rossi
. Reports state the seven-time premeir class champion confirmed his intentions to stay in GP through the 2014 season.
Read the official statement below Courtesy of Respol Honda
Reigning MotoGP World Champion and 2012 points leader Casey Stoner stunned the MotoGP paddock at Le Mans this afternoon when he announced his retirement. The 26-year-old will stop racing motorcycles at the end of this season.
The Repsol Honda rider cited personal reasons for his decision, as well as suggesting that MotoGP’s new direction – with the introduction of lower-cost and lower-performance CRT machines for some riders – also played a part.
“This has come after a long time of thinking and talking with my family and my wife,” he said. “It’s been coming for a couple of years now. At the end of this season I will finish my career in MotoGP and follow different things in my life. After so many years of doing the sport I love, for which myself and my family have made so many sacrifices, this sport has changed a lot and it’s changed to the point where I’m not enjoying it. I don’t have the passion for it, so it’s better if I retire now. It’d be nice if I could say I’ll stay one more year but then when does it stop, so we decided to finish.
"My decision isn’t going to change anything this season. We still want to win races and we’ll still put in 110 per cent of effort and maybe even more
“I’ve been watching this championship for a long time and it’s easy to see what works and what doesn’t."
“There are many, many different reasons but basically it’s me losing my passion for the racing and my enjoyment for the sport. Sure, I’m going to enjoy this year but I’m sure if I continue it would be a mistake.
“There’s many things I’d like to do with my life. I don’t want to keep racing bikes to the point where I lose my passion for motorcycles. I love bikes, they’ve been my whole life, and if I keep doing this I’m afraid I’ll completely lose my passion. Maybe I’ll still have some involvement in the sport, if I can find the energy, to maybe help some young riders, things like that.
“We’ve had a great career, we’ve had some fantastic races and I feel even after my first championship in 2007 I’d already reached my goal. This was my dream: to be World Champion. It’s been a difficult up and down road but a fantastic one. I won’t have any regrets.”
The Australian started racing in dirt track competition when he was four-years-old. A multiple state and local champion, his family moved to Britain when he was 14 so he could start racing on tarmac. He won a British roadrace title at his first attempt – in 2000 – and made his Grand Prix debut in the 250cc class in 2002, when he was 16 years old. He won five 250 GP victories and two 125 GP victories before graduating to MotoGP in 2006, with LCR Honda. The following year he won his first MotoGP victory and the world title with Ducati. He has won 35 races in the premier class.