Casey Stoner: I’ll be at Valencia

Sunday, November 04, 2012
Casey Stoner isn't tempted to change his mind about racing in the final MotoGP round at Valencia, or retirement, after a stunning sixth successive home Australian victory on Sunday.

The 27-year-old double world champion said farewell to his home fans in perfect fashion at Phillip Island, dominating every session at a circuit that had named Turn Three in his honour.

After the race, fans flooded onto the start finish-straight to hail 'King Casey' on the podium for a final time at home.

It was Stoner's first win since before his ankle injuries at Indianapolis, in mid-August, and some felt that the Repsol Honda star might decide there was little to be gained by attending the upcoming Valencia finale.

“I'm here to finish the season out. Not just my home grand prix,” said Stoner, now confirmed as third in the championship despite missing three events. “I wasn't just planning to come back for this race alone, but as many races as I could before the end of the season.

“We didn't get the results we wanted at the last two races, but got our strength back and things worked more smoothly around here. It was fantastic and I can't ask for a better way to end my career in Australia, but at the same time I'm not finishing here.

“I'm going to Valencia to try and get another good result, but I know it'll be a very different story.”

The only rider to win a MotoGP title for Ducati also ruled out any change of heart regarding his decision to retire, but did admit he will miss the thrill of racing against the likes of Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

“I'm very comfortable with my decision. I'm not changing my mind every couple of minutes,” he said of retirement. “Definitely some aspects I'm going to miss - the actually racing.

“I have so much respect for Dani and Jorge. I've been racing them my whole career. We've been challenging each other and fighting with each other for so many years.

“There will definitely be something missing inside sometimes, but I'll still get to watch them and I'll come to some grands prix to enjoy it.”

Those hoping that Stoner will follow in the recent footsteps of F1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen by returning to action a few years down the line are also likely to be disappointed.

“This sport would have to take dramatic changes for me to even consider coming back. I can never say never, but honestly I have no thoughts at this time of ever coming back,” he said.

The Valencia Grand Prix will be held from November 9-11, when Stoner will be chasing a 39th and last MotoGP win. A Valencia victory would also match new double champion Lorenzo and runner-up Pedrosa for six wins this year.

Two days later the likes of Lorenzo and Pedrosa will be back on track testing their 2013 bikes, while Stoner - who made his MotoGP debut in 2006 - will be starting retirement.

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