It is hard to upstage Valentino Rossi. It takes something large, significant, to take the limelight away from the nine-time World Champion, and the man who has been the charismatic heart of MotoGP for the best part of 15 years. To do that, you have to "Go big or go home," as British road racer Guy Martin likes to put it.
The first three races in the history of the new Moto3 class have given three different winners and, with round four just around the corner at Le Mans, any one of Sandro Cortese, Maverick Viñales or Romano Fenati could get their second win of the season. Or perhaps Spaniard Luis Salom will find that tiny thing he still needs to become part of the exclusive club of new “quarter litre” category winners.
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.
Below is the official press release from Honda on Casey Stoner's retirement:
STONER ANNOUNCES HE IS TO RETIRE AT THE END OF 2012
Reigning MotoGP World Champion and 2012 points leader Casey Stoner stunned the MotoGP paddock at Le Mans this afternoon when he announced his retirement. The 26-year-old will stop racing motorcycles at the end of this season.
At the start of the pre-event press conference at Le Mans, Casey Stoner made the following statement:
"Basically, this has come after a long time of thinking, a lot of time talking with my family and my wife. This has been coming for a couple of years now, but at the end of this 2012 season, I will be not racing in the 2013 championship. I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP and go forward with something different with my life.
In a shock announcement, Casey Stoner has told the pre-event press conference at Le Mans that he has decided to retire at the end of 2012. Citing "disappointment with the direction MotoGP is going," according to MCN's Matt Birt, Stoner told a shocked press conference that he will not be racing in MotoGP beyond 2012. The Repsol Honda rider said the decision had nothing to do with the birth of his daughter, and everything to do with losing his passion for racing.
Below are the press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's French Grand Prix at Le Mans:
MotoGP returns to Legendary Le Mans
Below are the press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, as well as official tire supplier Dunlop, ahead of this weekend's Le Mans round of MotoGP:
Dunlop Moto2 Preview: Le Mans
Monster Energy Grand Prix de France (Round 4/17) 20.05.2012
Taking it to the Dunlop Bridge.
John Hopkins is to return to racing at the Miller Motorsports Park round of World Superbikes on May 28th. After crashing heavily in the disastrous conditions at Monza two weeks' ago, where he broke a bone in his foot and damaged his hip, Hopkins has been pronounced fit enough to attempt to race at Miller, the home round for the Californian.
BMW have been waiting for a win in World Superbikes for a long time. Ever since they entered the series in 2009, the German factory has been edging ever closer to podiums and a victory, but they have always proved elusive. At Donington, they finally got what they had been waiting for for so long, and more: Not only did Marco Melandri become the first ever rider to win a World Superbike race on a BMW, but his teammate Leon Haslam finished 2nd, making it a historic 1-2.
As it should be, what was probably the last Portuguese Grand Prix for the foreseeable future left no one indifferent. Torrential storms became almost a tradition at Estoril, so nobody expected this edition to be any different after seeing clouds quickly come and go over the track from Thursday to Sunday. It would hardly have been a surprise to feel the rain start to fall at any given moment of the weekend, but thankfully, it held off.
Cheating in motorsports is as old as the sport itself. Whenever powered vehicles gather together to race each other, then someone, somewhere, will try to gain an advantage, either within the rules or, if that is not successful, outside of the rules. In all classes, and at all times, teams, engineers and riders have all tried to cheat in one way or another. Even the imposition of a spec engine in the Moto2 class hasn't prevented teams trying to cheat, and the paddock is awash with rumors regarding which teams are cheating and which teams are not.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Sunday's races at Donington Park:
Donington Park is renowned for giving fans exciting races. 48,500 of them turned up over the weekend to brave the cold wind and watch the most exciting racing Superbike races of the year. Crashes, surprises, upsets and spills were the order of the day while history was made and old enmities revisited.