Casey Stoner walks away from Moto GP this weekend and he seems determined to do it with a bang.
In an interview published Thursday, Stoner ripped the Moto GP, saying his decision to retire and settle down with his family was in part a result of “losing respect” for the sport.
The two-time world champion will race for the final time in Valencia this weekend, but it looks as if the 27-year-old Australian won’t walk away quietly. Stoner dominated the Australian Moto GP a fortnight ago, his second last race and the last in front of his home fans, and it turned out to be a perfect send off as over 100,000 people headed to Phillip Island to see their idol a final time.
Heading into the final stage of the season Stoner had some strong words to share with panorama.it about the Moto GP.
"There are many reasons why I'm quitting - one day I will explain everything," said Stoner.
"The problem is not my passion, it's the passion which is missing on the circuit (championship), the one I found as a kid and which made me commit to the sport all these years."
"If I had to say in a few words, I'd say I've lost my respect for the championship and I don't really agree with the direction it has taken."
Stoner shocked the racing world when he announced earlier this year he would walk away from the sport to spend time with his young family. He also spoke out against the slower speeds on some circuits and told Australian Motorcycle News he would prefer a return of racing from the 500cc days.
Although Stoner isn’t a provocateur, his speak-your-mind attitude meant he hasn’t been a stranger to controversy. He has spoken out against motorsport culture in Australia, often criticised Moto GP and provided a few memorable run-ins with rival riders.
Stoner rode up beside Randy de Puniet last year at Le Mans and punched the Frenchman on the shoulder when he blocked Stoner during warm-ups while the pair were travelling at speeds of around 160kmh. There was also the classic clash with Valentino Rossi. It peaked at Jerez in 2011 when the Italian wiped out both riders attempting to overtake on a slippery track. Dismounted from his bike, Stoner stood beside the track and sarcastically clapped Valentino as he rode on and when he was later approached by the apologetic Italian, Stoner responded brilliantly in saying, “Obviously your ambition outweighs your talent”.
An injury interrupted season meant Stoner wasn’t able to compete for the championship Jorge Lorenzo secured in Melbourne a fortnight ago, but his form since returning from ankle injury proved that he leaves the sport as one of its best.
Crave has Australian sport covered
Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.