Motorsport: Stoner finishes career on podium

Australian Casey Stoner ended his stellar MotoGP career on Sunday with a 69th podium finish.

Stoner, the two-time world champion who has retired from the sport at the age of 27, finished third at an incident-packed Valencia MotoGP.

Dani Pedrosa, who started from pole, won the season-closing race in Spain.

The Spanish Honda rider was followed across the line by Yamaha's Katsuyuki Nakasuga with Stoner third in his last race.

Jorge Lorenzo, who clinched the world title last time out in Australia, crashed out with 17 laps of the race remaining.

Pedrosa had won pole position in Saturday's qualifying, but opted to take the pit-lane start penalty for a last-minute change of tyres due to a rain shower that slicked the 4km Comunitat Valenciana track.

The Spaniard made quick work of the field to steer his Honda into second place before moving first when Lorenzo went off his Yamaha after hitting a wet patch with 17 laps to go.

Earlier in the week, Stoner said he "lost respect for the championship" and that he doesn't like the way it's headed.

A week after winning at his "home" Phillip Island circuit for the sixth time, Stoner was looking forward to the simple things in life.

"The problem is not my passion, it's the passion which is missing on the circuit, the one I found as a kid and which made me commit to the sport all these years," Stoner told www.panorama.it earlier in the week.

"There are many reasons why I'm quitting - one day I will explain everything."

He added: "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."

Although only 27, Stoner says he is happy to spend more time with his wife and daughter Alessandra Maria.

-AFP

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