Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo shocked at Stoner’s retirement decision

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Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo – two of the biggest rivals in Casey Stoner’s career – have spoken of their shock at the Australian’s decision to retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 world championship campaign.

The Repsol Honda rider, who has won two out of the opening three races, dropped a bombshell in today’s pre-event press conference at Le Mans by confirming his decision to retire when the current season ends in Valencia in November.

Rossi and Lorenzo flanked Stoner in the press conference and both were visibly shocked when he announced that he will quit racing at the age of 27.

Factory Ducati rider Rossi, who has had several on and off track clashes with Stoner since 2006, said: “It is a big surprise for me but also for everybody.

"It is bad news for the MotoGP world because at the end of the season we will lose one great rider and one great rival. It is negative but it is his decision.”

Rumours started about Stoner’s retirement plans during the recent Estoril MotoGP round in Portugal, which he initially played down with HRC offering him a lucrative new contract for 2013

And Lorenzo said: “I think it is a surprise for me and for everyone and I didn’t expect it. I heard the rumours and while it was a possibility I thought Casey would continue riding next year.

"He has made this decision and it is not good news for MotoGP but his decision is to live quietly with his family and we must respect this.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt