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2012-05-21 09:17

END OF AN ERA: MotoGP champion Casey Stoner will hang up his racing helmet at the end of 2012 to spend more time with his family.

Reigning world champion Casey Stoner announced at the French Grand Prix that he would be retiring at the end of the 2012 MotoGP season.

Stoner, who has won 35 MotoGP races in his career and leads the current standings after winning two of the season's three events, says he will not continue racing beyond 2012 due to "family reasons".

Stonder said: "After a long period of thought and numerous discussions with my wife and family, I have decided to stop competing at the end of the season.


"After so many years taking part in this sport that I love, and with all the sacrifices that I have had to make, I no longer have the passion to continue and I think that it is best to stop," he said.

At the time he shrugged off suggestions that fatherhood would dampen his love of motorcycling.

Despite his superb start to the season, Stoner has been critical of technical changes to the sport which he claims were undermining the championship.

The 2012 MotoGP bikes are 1000cc as opposed to the 800cc of previous championships, while manufacturers such as Kawasaki and Suzuki no longer field factory teams, leaving just Honda, Ducati and Yamaha with official squads.

Stoner said: “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,” he said.

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