Casey Stoner Explains His Decision To Retire To The Press At Le Mans

At the press conference at Le Mans, where Casey Stoner made the shock announcement of his retirement, Stoner answered questions from journalists present about his decision to retire at the end of the 2012 season. You can find his original statement in this story, but below is a transcript of what Stoner told journalists when they were given a chance to question the Australian about his retirement.

Q: You said you are disappointed in things, would you mind elaborating a bit. Are you talking about the CRT, or the control tires? The things that have annoyed you a bit recently?

It's not just annoying me. I've been watching this championship for a long time, and it's very easy to see what works and what doesn't. This championship and everything that I've worked towards to get here, it's been a huge dream of mine, and then you get here, you race for a few years, and you realize a lot of things, whether it's people having no faith in you, whether it's people not believing in your talent, or the changes that have happened to the championship.

2009 to be honest was a big eye-opener for me. Everybody still thinks to this day says it's a mystery illness, the fact that nobody 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, you know, it just basically takes my energy, it stops me from absorbing nutrients. And so the fact that nobody has listened to me about that. There have been many, many things that have over time just taken its toll.

The way I see the championship heading, the direction I see it heading, and the fact that in 2009 I really realized what was important, and that's family, it's happiness, money isn't everything, and I think I'm one of the few riders who can actually say they've retired when they've stopped enjoying it. My passion has slowly ebbed away from this championship. You yourselves, the media, have not exactly been friendly to this championship, and criticizing it many times, especially recently. And people don't realize that everyone is bringing it down themselves, they are saying that the racing is boring, this is boring, that's boring, and if you go back some years ago, you'll find the same amount of races that were either close or not.

I think people just need to appreciate what they have in front of them at this time, and I think everybody in this room needs to realize what championship they have before it's gone. I think it would be really nice to see some fantastic racing out at the front, but with only a few factory bikes out there, it's not going to happen any time soon. There needs to be more high-quality bikes out there so that people like Randy [de Puniet] can be running where he deserves to be, and not so far behind 12th position. There's 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 the race, I can't remember, definitely after qualifying, and it's clearly separating it. This isn't a two-standard series. This is the MotoGP championship, this is a prototype championship. People can say all they want about the past, that it started out as very standard machines and basically progressed to prototype machines, and now we're just taking the opposite step and going backwards. It's not starting again from the beginning, it's going backwards.

It's not the championship I fell in love with, it's not the championship I always wanted to race in, and except for my competitors around me, they're the only ones who give respect to each other, nobody else has enough respect out there for the people that do their jobs, work in the teams, work on the trucks, and put this show on every week, it's not easy, you know. There's many many 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, then it would only be a mistake on my behalf, it wouldn't be correct to Honda, and my team, everybody if I didn't give 110%.

Q: You had a test in a V8 Supercar recently. It's closer to home and less travel, is that something that interests you?

It's by no means any part of my decision. This has been coming for a long time, it's not something that just happened. I have tested the V8 car, but that's also something I've been trying to do for the last 3 or 4 years, to be honest, and finally it happened. So there's no coincidence to this whatsoever. Also the birth of my little girl has absolutely nothing to do with this. It has a small part of making the decision easier, but by no means is it the reason why I made this decision.

Yes, V8 is something I'm definitely going to be interested to do in the future, whether I will be fast enough or not is another thing, and that would be, not in the near future, very immediate future. But yes, there's many things I'd like to do with my life. To be honest, I don't want to keep racing bikes to the point where I completely lose my passion. I don't want finish racing and not want to ride a bike for the next 5, 10 years. I love bikes, this has been my whole life, and if I keep doing it, I'm afraid I'll lose completely my passion for it and not want to even go near a bike for the next 10 years, and that would scare me. So, for many many reasons, but the V8 thing and things like that is nothing to do with it.

Q: Is this a definitive retirement? This is the first time I saw a young, talented rider retire so early without an injury. Don't you think this is a waste of talent?

You must tell me. This is maybe not a waste of talent, it's a waste of life for me if I continue doing it. I know I can go out there, even if I'm not enjoying it, I can go out there and I'll still do the same results and give everything I can, because my competitive nature will then take over, where the passion cannot hold.

But no, to be honest, this is … difficult to explain... Maybe I am the first one, the young one with a good career ahead of them to retire so early, but at the same time, you know I've spoken the truth, always. In all my media commitments, even in the last race, in Portugal. I didn't lie to anybody, the information got out, I don't know how or by who, but I hadn't even decided by then. So it was wrong information. I've only decided in this last week 100% what my decision is, so we're not sure how it got out. The fact that I don't lie is the same, you know, every rider here says always the same, "When I stop feeling the passion for this sport I will retire," but I don't think there's many riders out there that can say that this is actually the truth. Because there's always something holding them here, whether it's money, or the fame, or whatever it is, there are other aspect that keep them here. I think I've seen other riders lose their passion for the sport, lose their fun in the sport, and still continue to race.

Q: Are you satisfied with what you achieved in your career? What do you think you will leave to this sport?

I don't know, it's not up to me to say what I'm going to leave to this sport, and maybe I'll still have some involvement, if I can find the energy to maybe help some young riders, to do something.

But I'm not really sure what I leave. We've had a great career, we've had some fantastic races, and I believe that even after my first championship in 2007, already I had reached my goal. This was my dream, to become world champion. When you're younger, to become multiple times world champion, but when you arrive closer to Grand Prix and arrive in Grand Prix, reality is a little bit more realistic, but I never stopped trying, no matter how much criticism I got for riding the Ducati, and no matter how much criticism I got for crashing, different things like this in the past, you know, this has all helped, to be honest, to arrive at the point where we are today, and helped my decision to be a little easier. I don't believe I will be leaving anything behind, I'm very happy with the career that I've had this far, in such a short space, to have had the race wins that I've had, the battles that I've had, the success, and also the problems that I've had. So it's been a difficult up-and-down road, but it's been a fantastic one, so I won't have regrets.

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I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the post but since yesterday I enter the site and it sends me to the mobile version. And I can't find how to enter to the settings menu. Ideas?

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Hmmm... sounds like it's definitely many factors in the decision.

I don't know... if he misses bike racing in a few years he could always go to WSBK, maybe the more relaxed atmosphere there would suit him better. Not prototype... but still...

Can't see how WSBK is more relaxed - seems more frenetic to me based on race and practice telecasts that I watch.

Sounded more to me like he doesn't enjoy a number of things, one of which is the lack of a larger cadre of riders all competing for a rostrum at the highest level.
I wonder if there's a veiled jibe at the manufacturers who don't provide a large enough number of bikes to teams. And of course the factories who aren't there at all. If a small manufacturer like Ducati can manage to field bikes in MotoGP, surely the smaller Japanese factories (Suzuki and Kawasaki) should be able to field a couple of bikes at least.

It's the paddock that is more relaxed in WSBK - less sponsor pressure, less of the hangers-on who are only there because it's and don't actually have any passion for the racing.

At the Phillip Island WSBK round, you can ride your bike into the grounds of the race track and park it at your favourite corner... at the MotoGP round you have to walk 1000m from where they make you park. Crowd size is about the same.

At Miller you're able to walk right to the garage doors and watch the crew strip fairings... do this, do that..... at Laguna, don't count on seeing anything like that unless your name is Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt... blah blah blah

I understand exactly what Casey is saying! And please, don't take this out of context....I retired early for the same reason. Turned down promotiions/pay raises/more power/etc., for the simple reason I was tired of the game, the BS, and the lack of 'HONESTY'!!!! I left a job that I truly loved and enjoyed, but the BS/back-stabbing got to a point I decided to walk away from $$$$$! And yes, I'm happy I did. I've always understood Casey becasue his personality and mine are very similiar.

........but Casey, you will be missed more then you will ever know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The rumours were around but it's hard for me to understand how one wouldn't enjoy riding the fastest bikes on the planet? At their absoulte limit.

I think Casey will be bored with "regular life" and be back in 2 years max...

Could it be possible that the old Honda-Atttitude of bike first, rider second, could have helped him in his decision? There seems to be many statements of not being appreciated. I think we have heard that from a few Honda riders in the past?

Either less great rider on the grid. Which sucks from either angle you choose to look at it from....


I think it's probably more the old Ducati-attitude of "STFU and ride, we know what's best and no, you won't be getting any new parts".
This, and all the "traction control kid" BS.

After reading this my impression of Stoner, isn't any better. I think he's an amazing rider and I've enjoyed his matter of fact attitude in the past. But complaining about the criticism with the lactose incontinence, give me a break. I can't believe that still gets to him, especially after he says he doesn't care what the media says. And it shows a lack of maturity that he doesn't get why people complain about boring races. News flash Casey, they are! And if the fans don't watch there's no reason for the Motogp circus to exist. I wish him the best and respect his decision. There's a boatload of guys who'd die to be where he is and some day there'll be another scrappy kid to replace him


You are spot on. After seeing Rossi fail spectacularly on the Ducati and remembering the way Stoner rode it my respect for the latter went up by leaps and bounds. I cannot get to like him but I have stopped being an ardent Rossi fan and actually began to sympathise with Stoner (getting booed when he wins, applauded when he falls, lack of media attention) but all this whinging about how he got ill treated about his "mystery illness" when it was told to the world that he had "lactose intolerance" is all total balderdash. I still feel there was more to that illness than plain lactose intolerance but one would have thought all that is now in the past. Stoner is behaving like 10 year old who despises the field that jumps on him because he is different. He is different. How many racers get married at 21 or 22 years of age and his self imposed reclusion and hanging out with the Red Bull Rookies is all a bit different from what the media and fans are used to. If you want to be different and everyone has a right to be different, you should also be ready to face the consequences of what that brings. There is no doubt that Stoner is an extraordinary talent and if he wants to retire he can, like Bjorn Borg did at the same age. Borg said he wanted to go out while he was at the top whereas Stoner is finding several non-existent scapegoats for his retirement and making the whole thing sound as if it is some martyrdom. That in my honest opinion has crock written all over it. Distasteful and disgraceful way of retiring, in my opinion.

The more I don't understand the decision.

When he says '“This has come after a long time of thinking and talking with my family and my wife,” he said. “It’s been coming for a couple of years now.' it feels like he really means 'I remember and carry on my shoulders every slight ever directed towards me and now the weight of it all is too much'. And he seems really focused on 2009. Over 2 years and one team ago. Let it go already. Everybody knows Ducati treats riders like crap and you were no exception.

I'm a huge fan of his talent and could care less about his persona or lack of one but how can he in one breath announce his retirement due to his complaints about negative paddock attitudes and then in the next breath chastise them to appreciate what they have in front of them at the time? Isn't he not appreciating what he has (still being the fastest rider in the class that has the fastest riders and bikes), and instead looking at how things might be in the future and then giving up in advance?

Maybe we forget that apart from being the best in the world at motorcycle racing he is still just a 26yr old with the capability to make bad decisions. I'm not sure that dropping a bombshell retirement decision and potentially alienating everyone in your professional life by saying 'I don't like playing your game anymore because it sucks' is the best decision.

One thing's for sure: this is one decision that will be a lot harder to reverse than Motegi.


Odd, it was the reverse for me - after that it was obvious there were many things contributing to his desire to get the hell away from the MotoGP circus before he regretted staying. Somewhat antagonistic media, a very love-hate relationship with Ducati took its toll (allowing Marlboro to take potshots over the illness, lack of development vs. the Rossi wave of new bikes, offering Lorenzo, Rossi and even Melandri more money, etc), lack of competition for the podium, small fields, phasing out of the full prototypes. We've known for years now that he was not going to carry on into his 30's, this is not a spur of the moment decision.

I'd also disagree strongly that he has alienated anyone on the MotoGP paddock. Just look at Lin Jarvis manouvering to make Spies disposable if Dovi or Crutchlow make a good showing - the MotoGP teams have absolutely no conscience when it comes to winning. Stoner isn't leaving for a better offer in another garage and right now he makes a bigger difference between winning and losing than anyone on the planet; if he gets the urge to ride again in 2-3 years there will be teams lined up to sign him. Just look at HRC eating crow and maybe, maybe thinking Rossi now Stoner is gone - if that can even be discussed then Stoner's return would be as smooth as silk.

Maybe Stoner is remembering the day he raced 250 in 2005, where riders like De Angelis, Randy de Puniet, Sebastian Porto, Hiroshi Aoyama and himself scrapped each other with names like Daniel Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Andrea Dovizioso?

Maybe you have to be Australian to appreciate why Casey wants to quit the BS life of being a MotoGP star. Americans and Europeans love that crap, the show, the pomp, the hype, Australians don't, we have a very laid back lifestyle here and to me, I completley understand why he wants no more.

If anyone thinks he will ever want to 'reverse this decision' (thecosman) then they really have not understood him ever, I agree with you there. Keep puzzling.

Bravo Casey for going out at your peak, and for speaking your mind no matter what all the monday's experts on this and other sites say about you. You never bowed to anything, you stayed true to yourself and the fact a lot of people didn't like that, says more about them, than it does about you.

"Americans and Europeans love that crap, the show, the pomp, the hype, Australians don't"

Or maybe Americans and Europeans are just better at dealing with it and just get on with it. See how easy it is to generalize and insult?

We're convicts, we don't like attention, it makes stealing more difficult...

Many times Stoner has said that he is there for the racing. It's plain to see that he has achieved his goals and now sees the premier class weakening around him, and who is anyone else to question his decision!

There's nothing worse than a guy with everything and still unhappy. He's got a dream job, travels the world at 26, is at the absolute pinnacle of a sport, and all he can see is the negative. That he's still taking about the lactose intolerance thing is just mind-boggling.

I say good for him and good for the sport. If you're that unhappy, definitely go try something else. Good for the sport, since his absence will open up a spot for someone that wants a Repsol Honda MototGP ride (aka, every motorcycle racer in the world).

I've tried that too. Airport, hotel, work. Repeat.
I Casey's case: Airport, mobile home, paddock. Repeat.
Not much fun in that. You get to be a tourist for maximum two days each place, and then it's back to business.

Alot of comments criticizing Stoner for talking about his lactose intolerance and other past events. Well I would like to see anyone else have their close associates and others talking behind their back and doubting their every move, not trusting in them. That wears on a person (as Stoner rightly admits). Usually this kind of behavior is undertaken by on-track rivals under the guise of "psychological warfare", not usually by employees, media and so-called "fans" of the sport.

Even after saying that his retirement was for personal reasons, he still went ahead and explained a bit more, and typically still cops a fair amount of criticism.

Can't blame him for wanting to get away from that sort of an environment. I wish him all the best and hope he does whatever will make him happy, no ill feelings towards him at all, unlike some other commenters here.

Everyone would do well to take note of his comments regarding the championship.

And I will also add that Stoner is not just seeing the negative. You're right that he has a great job, gets to travel, and is at the top of his sport. And that's the whole point - he has achieved his goals. What exactly do you expect a sportsman to do after they have achieved their goals? Just stick around for your entertainment while they slowly fade away?

Good on him for realising that there's more to life, and now he's off to realise some more of his life goals!

I've never followed F1 but I recently watched the movie Senna and just felt bad for the guy because he really didn't seem happy even when he was on top.
If the motoGP life is really getting Stoner down there's no reason he should stay.

When there are mentions of the politics and the bullshit, it is no different to what Graeme Crosby said when he quit the World 500 Championship at the end of 1982. Crosby also said that being a Kiwi or an Aussie made you a rank outsider to even be considered for a factory ride. If anything, it appears the 'World' Championship is even more Euro-centric than when Kenny Roberts laughingly asked "what World Championship - don't you mean the European Championship" when asked at Daytona in 1974 why he wasn't racing the World Championship. So even though there are many more races than ever and many of them outside Europe, it is still controlled by the Old World. Time for a Pan Pacific World Series!

And I say that with all respect.
I know you can be a Kiwi or an Aussie and feel like an alien in Europe (whatever euro country). Anyone can understand the different cultures and barriers within that, sometimes to the point where one may simply struggle to fit. Sometimes more, other times less (any western country citizen visiting Japan or India -and vice versa- knows what I'm talking about).

The bit that is getting extremely annoying is constantly seeing mentioned -more often than not- this general "labelling" of Europeans, by Aussies/Kiwis, as all being arrogant, pompous and "such and such" type of people, be it in sports or in general.
And this silly mindset is not contrived to MotoMatters, MCN or Crash.Net user messages, I should say.
It's that atitude that paints the situation that you're blaming on others.

For those of you with such tendency, you're missing the big point. Europe is a continent, and it's the "old continent" exactly because there's inumerous countries and respective cultures hundreds (thousands?) years old all over it. All very different.
If you're such a patriot, then respect other people's patriotism and cultures.
Please stop inventing preconceptions and generalizing what you obviously don't have a clue about - no reason to have a chip on your shoulder, or using Casey Stoner as a flag to represent that.

That's life, that's what people say.
You're riding high in April,
Shot down in May.
But I know I'm gonna change their tune,
When I'm right back on top in June.

That's life, funny as it seems.
Some people get their kicks,
Steppin' on dreams
But I just can't let it get me down,
Cause this big old world keeps spinnin' around.

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
But I know one thing:
Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That's life, I can't deny it,
I thought of quitting,
But my heart just won't buy it.
Cause if I didn't think it was worth a try,
I'd have to roll myself up in a big ball and die..

If i Recall Rite Frank permanently Retired back in 98

I told You the future will show that Casey's way of life in motogp is the best one for theese days. Why? Well...we live in very efficiency and effectiveness demand world.

Here he just said he wants to stay human, not robot. In every line it's written. Don't want to become robot, don't want to be addicted to racing where it's not about passion, it's about no way out of racing schedule and adrenalin around it. From outside it looks very clear: young gun just stepped up to the class, won WC, everything in pink colors. Flashes, photographs, celebrity & co. But nobody realizes that from rider's perspective from that moment he win the highest possible title the things around changes a bit. You can deal with it in several ways but there's a point reached that theese ways are just another version of prosthesis. And when passion turns more and more to overefficient job (as employer, journalists and audition-me included-demand it) You are very close to be simply addicted or to become a prisoner of Your own challenge. Just how olimpic swimming winner Amanda Beard struggled ( ) while everybody just seen the beauty idealistic world of win says it all. In the water they can't see You cry. The same is everywhere.
Stoner's confession isn't about chimerical character, it's about fight between You in Your career and You in Your whole life. How many there in racing world are mature in rivalry racing and how many of them are mature in their whole life? There is somewhere the price You either gonna pay at this stage. It's a brutal decision time. You can enjoy racing at peak till end of Your life only when racing became the only thing that left in Your life.
As years ago Faith no More wrote an album with great title:
King for a day, fool for a lifetime.
Now guess who can be that fool? Somebody who retired at the right time or somebody who can't stop or avoids that point? Feel free to answer.
Theese are days of 'red barons' idea crisis. It simply had gone but some people can't realise that. Even Ezpeleta.

I loved reading that, you really write with passion and depth. Thanks!

Someone wrote earlier to say how can you have what Stoner has and still be unhappy, the reality is that in context, Stoner is still as human as any of us, with all the frailties and fears and questions that we all have. As a father I know that having a child has merely intensified all those thoughts in Stoner.

He is also 27 years old and if you haven't heard of it, google Saturn Return... that age (or thereabouts) is a special point in many people's lives, where they start to question what they know and what they are, and occasionally it results in fairly drastic actions. Think of a few very talented but also idolised 27/28 year olds... Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendricks, Jeff Buckley come to mind.

I totally agree with everything that Casey said and with his decision to retire. He is 100% right about the media's criticism and about CRT. MotoGP is being dilluted for the sake of cutting costs (which is partially necessary, I do understand), but it is steady degrading the championship. Yes, we all want to see a full grid of bikes every Sunday, but it must be a lineup of competitive, prototype motorcycles that stay true to the essence of MotoGP.

As for retiring young, I reckon it's a pretty prudent decision. The guy has lost his passion (it could even be ventured that his sentiments are on the verge of scornful in regards to the championship) and he has realized that his family is more important to him than racing. That in itself is significant. Racing was Casey's career and a great love of his, but it wasn't his be-all and end-all. The fact that he is twenty-six years old and able to walk away from it while he still has the ability to be outstandingly successful shows that. Good for him!

I just hope and pray that he doesn't get severely injured or killed in an accident before the season is over. And it'd be almost nice if he won the championship a final time before leaving. But hey, I did say ALMOST. I'm still a hardcore Lorenzo-fan.

Ducati pulls out of MotoGP! The cost of having Rossi and the continuous costly development of the bike with mediocre results has taken it's toll!