Casey Stoner has announced that he will be retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season. Speculation has been rife in recent weeks regarding Stoner’s status and Stoner took the step to deny that he was planning on retiring this season as recently as two weeks ago during press conferences in Estoril.
The current world champion confirmed today (Thursday) that this season would be his last. The Repsol Honda rider provided a short statement during the official pre-event press conference to the media at the Le Mans circuit in France.
“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,” Stoner told the assembled press.
“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.”
The 26 year-old who has 35 victories in MotoGP and 2 world championships (2007 with Ducati and last season with Repsol Honda) to his name currently leads the 2012 championship ahead of Jorge Lorenzo.
Stoner’s announcement is likely to lead to massive amounts of speculation relating to the 2013 rider market with a coveted works Repsol Honda ride now likely to be available if the team remains a two bike outfit.