Casey Stoner announces retirement

Goodbye, Casey; MotoGP champ Casey Stoner says he's leaving the sport at the season's end.
Goodbye, Casey; MotoGP champ Casey Stoner says he's leaving the sport at the season's end.

We told you about the rumours, then told you when they seemed false, but now Casey Stoner says they’re true: He’s retiring at the end of this season.

The Australian MotoGP champion says he wants out of MotoGP because he’s not having fun anymore. Or, as he puts it:

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.”

Some fans say this opens a spot at Honda for Rossi, and Honda's crew chief didn't rule the idea out.

Supposedly, the changes Stoner is unhappy with are the new CRT teams – MotoGP is down to only 12 factory bikes now. Add in Stoner’s young family, and it sounds like he’s looking forward to fishing and farming a lot more than racing. He’s never been comfortable in the media spotlight, and many fans don’t like him, so why stick around?

And although he didn’t come out and say it, you’ve got to wonder if Marco Simoncelli’s tragic crash has Stoner and his family focused on the sport’s dangers, at a time when he just doesn’t need the money.

Of course, the rumour mill is running overtime with this news. With all the major players in MotoGP finishing their contracts at the season’s end, folks are saying Valentino Rossi will return to Honda, or Lorenzo will replace Stoner, and Rossi will replace Lorenzo at Yamaha. Some people suspect Honda will pressure MotoGP to change the rules to allow Marc Marquez to sign on to the Honda factory team as a rookie.

Meanwhile, Rossi says he has no plans of following Stoner into retirement, saying he’s planning to race a couple more years “for sure.” And why not? With Stoner gone, Rossi has a great chance to be top dog again, as long as he can get on board a bike he can race.

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