Friday 18 May 2012 - Casey Stoner has announced today that 2012 will be his last season in MotoGP. The current world champion and favourite to win the title in 2012, has stated that he has lost his passion for the sport. The news has shocked the MotoGP paddock.
MotoGP is already in crisis following the steadily dwindling numbers on the grid. New rules introduced in 2012 have seen radical changes to the bikes, but not much improvement in the racing. There are only 3 riders that are competetive: Stoner, Lorenzo & Pedrosa.
Even Ben Spies on the Factory Yamaha is struggling. Other issues include Bridgestone tyres that are unable to retain heat on both sides of the tyre on tracks that have an unequal number of turns, resulting in a lot of cold tyre crashes.
Casey became a dad in February this year, which has probably played a part in his decision. Having children is a wake up call to a lot of riders reminding them of their responsibilities and making them more aware of their own mortality.
Casey has had probelms staying motivated in the past, when he missed races in the middle of the 2010 season, but judging from his explanation when interviewd by the press, Casey has clearly become disillusioned by the sport and the way it is going, citing that the negatives continue to outweigh the positives. From that we can only conclude that he has been unhappy for some time with the way things are going in MotoGP and having made his mark, he has nothing left to prove.
Without a doubt, the death of Marco Simoncelli last year will have had an effect on him and the rest of the paddock as well. It's a pity he wont be able to stick around to beat Doohan's record and maybe even Rossi (he has enough time).
More information will be provided as it comes to hand.