Casey Stoner says there are “many, many different reasons” for his decision to quit MotoGP, however, it boils down to him losing his “love” for the sport
Stoner shocked the motor racing world on Thursday when he announced he would retire from the Championship at the end of this season, less than a month after he turns 27.
The double World Champion, who has 35 race victories to his name, read a prepared statement when he broke the news while later citing his reasons in the pre-Le Mans press conference.
The Australia, who is the reigning World Champion with Honda and the current points leader, revealed that criticism levelled at him - especially with regards to the illness he suffers that blighted his 2009 season - as well as the recent path that MotoGP has began to walk with the CRT bikes have dampened his love for the sport.
“This Championship and everything that I’ve worked towards to get here. It’s been a huge dream of mine. Then you get here and race for a few years and realise a lot of things,” said the 26-year-old father of one.
“Whether it’s people having no faith in you, people not believing in your talent or changes that have happened to the Championship.
“2009 to be honest was a big eye opener to me. People still to this day say it’s a mystery illness. The fact that no-one understands that I have a Lactose Intolerance. That it’s really critical to me if I do have any.
“It’s not of the type that everyone thinks it is. It just basically takes my energy, it stops me absorbing nutrients. The fact nobody has listened to me with that.
“There are many, many things that just over time have taken its toll. The way I see the championship heading. The direction I see it heading and the fact that in 2009 I really realised what is important. It’s family. Happiness. Money isn’t everything.
“I think I’m one of the few riders that can actually say they retired when they stopped enjoying it. My passion has slowly ebbed away from this championship.
“You yourselves, the media, have not exactly been friendly to this Championship. Criticising it many times. Especially recently. People don’t realise that everyone is bringing it down themselves.
“They are saying that the racing is boring. This is boring, that is boring. If you go back some years ago you’ll find the same amount of races that are close or not. I think people just need to appreciate what they have in front of them at this time.
“I think everyone in this room really needs to realise what Championship they have before it’s gone. I think it’d be really nice to see some fantastic racing again at the front, but with only a few factory bikes out there it’s not going to happen soon.”
As for the new CRT bikes, Stoner reckons it is not only hurting the racing at the front but has also resulted in a two-tier Championship.
“There needs to be more high quality bikes out there so people like Randy (de Puniet) can be running where he deserves to be and not so far behind twelfth position. There is just no way for them to get anywhere near the factory bikes.
“This Championship this year is separated. The first of the CRTs comes into parc ferme after, I think, the race and qualifying. It’s clearly separating them. This isn’t a two standard series. This is a MotoGP Championship. This is a prototype Championship.
“People can say all they want about the past, that it started out as standard machines and progressed to prototype machines. Now we’re just taking the opposite step and going backwards. It’s not starting again from the beginning, it’s going backwards.”
He added: “For me it’s not the Championship I fell in love with. It’s not the Championship I’ve always wanted to race in. And except from my competitors around me, they are the only ones that give respect to each other.
“Nobody else has enough respect out there for the people that do their jobs, work in the teams, work in the trucks and put this show on every week. It’s not easy.
“There are many, many different reasons, but it’s basically me losing my passion for the racing and my enjoyment of this sport.
“Sure I’m going to enjoy this year, but I think if I continue it would only be a mistake on my behalf. It wouldn’t be correct to Honda, my team and everybody if I didn’t give 110 percent.”