Casey Stoner to retire at season’s end

MotoGP champion Casey Stoner says he will consider a V8 Supercars career in Australia when he hangs up the leathers at the end of 2012.

Stoner, who also won the world title in 2007 with Ducati, became a father for the first time in February when his wife Adrianna gave birth to a baby daughter, and he announced Thursday that he will retire after the 2012 season to spend more time with his family.

Pundits and fans immediately began speculation that Stoner will make a switch to the Australian V8 Supercars competition, after the Honda pilot tested with TeamVodafone in December.

"It is something I am definitely interested to do in the future, but whether I will be fast enough or not is another thing," Stoner said.

"That will be not in the near future, the immediate future. It [driving V8 Supercars] is by no means any reason for my decision. This has been coming for a long time, it is not something that has just happened.

"I have tested the V8 car, and that is something we have been trying to do for the last two or three years, to be honest, and finally it happened. So there is no coincidence to it whatsoever.

"Also the birth of my little girl had nothing to do with this. It had a small part in making the decision easier but by no means is it the reason why I made this decision.There are many things that I would like to do with my life, and to be honest I don’t want to keep racing bikes to the point where I lose completely my passion.

"I don’t want to finish racing and then not want to ride a bike for the next five or 10 years, I love bikes, it has been my whole life and if I keep doing it I am afraid I will lose completely my passion for it and not want to go near a bike for the next 10 years and that would scare me, for many, many reasons."

V8 Supercars immediately issued a statement expressing their interest in attracting Stoner to the series.

"V8 Supercars congratulates Casey Stoner on his brilliant career following his retirement from MotoGP, and wishes him the best in whatever endeavor he chooses, whether that be on or off track," the statement read.

"V8 Supercars would welcome Stoner with open arms should he choose to make the switch from two wheels to four, following the likes of Wayne Gardner into touring car racing."