updated with 2 links/stories http://www.visordown.com/motorcycle-racing-news-moto-gp/casey-stoner-announces-retirement/20668.html ACCORDING to MotoGP pundit Neil Spalding, Casey Stoner has announced that he will be retiring from the sport at the end of this season. The news has exploded on Twitter after Spalding revealed the announcement, from within the press conference ahead of the French GP at Le Mans. This was backed up with subsequent tweets from the official MotoGP and HRC feeds. another link with more info http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/179806/1/casey_stoner_to_retire_from_motogp.html another link with story Reigning double world champion Casey Stoner has made the shock announcement that he will retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season. The 26-year-old, who vehemently denied retirement rumours at the previous Estoril round, made the announcement during the pre-event press conference ahead of this weekend's French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The Australian has been a full time grand prix rider since 2002, winning twice in 125cc, five times in 250cc and 35 times since moving to MotoGP in 2006. Stoner won Ducati's only MotoGP title at his first attempt in 2007, then won a second world crown after switching to Repsol Honda for 2011. Stoner, who currently leads the 2012 MotoGP standings by one point over Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, became a father for the first time just before the start of this season. “After a long time 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," the official MotoGP website quotes Stoner as saying. "I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP, and go forward in different things in my life. "After so many years of doing this sport which I love, and which myself and my family made so many sacrifices for, after so many years of trying to get to where we have gotten to at this point, this sport has changed a lot and it has changed to the point where I am not enjoying it. "I don't have the passion for it and so at this time it's better if I retire now. "There are a lot of things that have disappointed me, and also a lot of things I have loved about this sport, but unfortunately the balance has gone in the wrong direction. "And so, basically, we won't be continuing any more. It would be nice if I could say I would stay one more year, but then where does it stop? So we decided to finish everything as we are now." Seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi used the same press conference to again insist that he will race on for at least another two years, despite a report in the UK's Daily Telegraph claiming that he would retire at the end of the year. Rossi and fellow world champion Lorenzo both said that Stoner's departure will be a big loss for MotoGP. All of the top riders are out of contract at the end of this season and Honda - without a title for four years prior to Stoner's arrival - must now try and find a replacement. Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa is third in the championship, and almost certain to be retained given Stoner's announcement. Repsol Moto2 star Marc Marquez is expected to move to MotoGP next year, but - like all rookies - will not be able to ride for a factory team. Will Honda now mount a determined pursuit of Lorenzo, or even Rossi, to fill the void? Stoner has previously expressed an interest in Australia's V8 Supercar Championship and drove Craig Lowndes' TeamVodafone machine during a private test last December.