Gordon Hatch, MotoGP Correspondent
Repsol Honda rider makes announcement ahead of Monster Energy GP of France
Casey Stoner has rocked the Motorsports world by announcing that he will retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season just days after denying rumors about his future. The Australian double MotoGP Champion told the assembled media of his plans to leave the sport at the official press conference ahead of this weekend’s Monster Energy Grand Prix of France at Le Mans.
I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP.
Speaking about his decision Stoner said he took quite a while to think about his future in the sport and took into account becoming a father for the first time earlier this year and his desire to spend time with wife Adriana and daughter Alessandra.
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 doing the sport I love, so many sacrifices he has given me and my family after so many years trying to get to where we are right now, the sport has changed and changed to the point that I'm not enjoying. I have no passion for it and I think it's best that I retire now,” he added.
Rumors surfaced at the third round of this year’s championship at Estoril in Portugal that the reigning MotoGP champion was considering a retirement after refusing a two-year contract with current employers Honda but he played it down when asked.
However, at today’s press conference Stoner said that he is not happy with the way the sport is progressing. "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,” he said while adding, “I don't have the passion for it and so at this time it's better if I retire now."
Stoner won his first MotoGP title with Ducati in 2007 after entering the premier class in 2006 with LCR Honda and then went on to repeat his success at the pinnacle of motorcycle road racing with his Repsol Honda team. The New South Wales man has amassed a stunning 35 wins, 35 pole positions and 62 podium finishes in MotoGP alone.
Stoner has also been a critic of the newly introduced CRT class that he said he would have no interest in racing if MotoGP series owners Dorna continued to move in the direction of. He ended his press conference statement by giving his feeling on the progression of the sport.
“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,” Stoner said.
Stoner currently leads this year’s championship by one point ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa in third place.