Casey Stoner Announces Retirement
MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season. The news was a shock to both the MotoGP paddock and fans of the sport, and comes despite Stoner being on an amazing run of form which has seen him on the podium for eighteen consecutive races.
During the press conference in which the announcement was made, 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 not be racing in the 2013 championship. I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP, and going forward with different things in my life.
“After so many years doing a 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 a point where I am no 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 Australian entered MotoGP with LCR Honda in 2006, before moving to Ducati in 2007 and winning his first championship title. After three more seasons at Ducati he moved to the Repsol Honda and won his second championship in 2011. He has won 35 races in MotoGP to date, with more sure to come this season.
Regarding his future, Stoner said: ”For me at the moment, I haven’t decided what I’m going to be doing, and certainly no one else is going to know what I’m doing.”
He didn’t rule out a return to MotoGP, but only in the unlikely event that the bikes used are two-stroke 750cc machines. Another consideration may be Australian V8 racing, which he apparently enjoys and would eliminate the world travel requirements of MotoGP.
His departure from Repsol Honda will leave a prime spot which is sure to be sought by many riders. Among the names being put forward as a potential replacement are current Moto2 series leader Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo who is out of contract with Yamaha at the end of this year. Valentino Rossi has also been mentioned by some hopeful fans, though this would seem unlikely given the circumstances under which he left the team in 2003.
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