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Reigning MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner has announced that he is to sensationally walk away from the sport at the end of the 2012 season. The decision, which was made public personally in France on Thursday, follows the birth of the Australian’s first child in February.
250cc championship runner-up of 2005, Stoner made his MotoGP class debut a year later before claiming his maiden title with Ducati in 2007. The switch to Honda came for 2011, resulting in a highly successfully second title season in which he also won ten races. After two victories out of three so far this year, he leads the World Championship by a sole point.
“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,” he told the press at Le Mans ahead of this weekend’s race.
“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.”
To date, Stoner has won a total of 35 Grands Prix. In 2009, he missed a handful of races due to illness and was eventually diagnosed as lactose intolerant.
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