Stoner announcement shocks the world of Moto GP

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Updated: May 18, 2012

 

World motorcycling champion Casey Stoner stunned the sport on Thursday by announcing he will quit at the end of the season for “family reasons”.

The 26-year-old Australian, who has won 35 MotoGP races and leads the current standings by a point after winning two of the season’s three events, made his announcement at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s French Grand Prix.

Stoner joined the elite MotoGP class in 2006 with a satellite Honda team after working his way through the 125cc and 250cc ranks following his debut as a 125cc wildcard at Donington in 2001.

His switch to Ducati in 2007 proved an inspired decision as he won the MotoGP season-opener in Qatar, followed by nine more victories that propelled him to the world title.

He moved to the factory Honda team last year and clinched his second title on home ground at Phillip Island, having already won nine races. Stoner closed the season with a 10th victory in Valencia.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, one of Stoner’s great rivals, said he was shocked by the Australian’s decision.