Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2012 season.
The shock announcement was delivered to a packed press conference at Le Mans ahead of this weekend’s MotoGP round.
The 26-year-old who was crowned World Champion in 2008 and 2011 currently leads the 2012 standings by one point from Jorge Lorenzo.
Stoner cited numerous reasons for his shock decision including the desire to spend more time with his family and the fact that he has lost some of his passion to race.
Both Valentino Rossi and Lorenzo have spoken about Stoner’s retirement saying that they respect the decision but that is it ultimately very bad for MotoGP.
MCN’s MotoGP reporter Matthew Birt is in Le Mans and will be posting the full story on www.motorcyclenews.com