Racers are sometimes like alcoholics--they rarely know when to say when.
In MotoGP, Mick Doohan knew, Eddie Lawson knew, but I'm not really sure Valentino Rossi knows.
It seems reigning world champion Casey Stoner doesn't have that problem as he has confirmed today that he'll retire from the sport at the close of the 2012 MotoGP season.
Addressing the media at the Le Mans circuit, site of this weekend's race, the Repsol Honda rider made a short statement in which he outlined the reasons for his long-considered decision.
Even as he races toward a second straight title--and third overall--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,” 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," the Australian admitted, "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."
Stoner has been subject to arm-pump problems this year, and the physical malady caused from riding might be an unstated part of his decision, but he did go on to say, "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."
Immediate reactions of shock came in from Stoner's competitors, including Lorenzo who said, “It’s a surprise for me, for everyone. I didn’t expect it. I heard the rumors and I thought there was a possibility, but I thought he would continue next year. Now he has told us, it’s not good news for MotoGP I think, but his decision is to live quietly with his family and we must respect his decision.”
Casey Stoner won the 2007 MotoGP title on a Ducati and took last year's championship with his current team, Repsol Honda. He currently leads the 2012 point standings by a single point ahead of Factory Yamaha Racing's Jorge Lorenzo, heading into this weekend's fourth round at Le Mans, France, the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.