ACCORDING to MotoGP pundit Neil Spalding, Casey Stoner has announced that he will be retiring from the sport at the end of this season.
The news has exploded on Twitter after Spalding revealed the announcement, from within the press conference ahead of the French GP at Le Mans. This was backed up with subsequent tweets from the official MotoGP and HRC feeds.
Stoner said: “After a long time thinking, a lot of time talking with my family and my wife, this has been coming for a couple of years now but at the end of this 2012 season I will be not racing in the 2013 Championship. I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP, and go forward in different things in my life.
“After so many years of doing this sport which I love, and which myself and my family made so many sacrifices for, after so many years of trying to get to where we have gotten to at this point, this sport has changed a lot and it has changed to the point where I am not enjoying it. I don't have the passion for it and so at this time it's better if I retire now.
“There are a lot of things that have disappointed me, and also a lot of things I have loved about this sport, but unfortunately the balance has gone in the wrong direction. And so, basically, we won't be continuing any more. It would be nice if I could say I would stay one more year, but then where does it stop? So we decided to finish everything as we are now.”
Jorge Lorenzo said: “It’s a surprise for me, for everyone. I didn’t expect it. I heard the rumours and I thought there was a possibility, but I thought he would continue next year. Now he has told us, it’s not good news for MotoGP I think, but his decision is to live quietly with his family and we must respect his decision.”
Valentino Rossi said: “Yes, it’s a big surprise. I think it’s bad news for all the MotoGP world because at the end of the season maybe we’re losing one of the great riders and a great rival. Is negative, but it’s his own decision. For me it’s very difficult to understand where my retirement news started from, as I never spoke about my retirement. I want to race in MotoGP for the next two years for sure.”
Stoner originally rubbished the rumours, saying that he was going to continue racing until he no longer enjoyed it and not to believe the stories in the press until it comes from the horses mouth.