2012-05-18 08:49
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.

Source: Honda Pro Image

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