Casey Stoner says MotoGP exit won't sink in until after finale
|By Toby Moody and Sam Tremayne||Friday, November 9th 2012, 11:45 GMT|
Casey Stoner believes his retirement from the sport will not fully sink in until after his farewell race this weekend at Valencia.
The double world champion shocked the MotoGP paddock when he announced back in May that this would be his final season.
After the "fairytale" high of winning his home grand prix for a sixth consecutive year, Stoner says he is not sure what to expect in Spain this weekend.
He believes however that the magnitude of his retirement will only fully sink in on Monday when, for the first time in his career, he will not have an eye on the future.
Asked about his emotions heading into Sunday's race, Stoner said: "There are [mixed feelings], but like I've said in the past this isn't something I've just decided a month ago.
"I've known for a long time that this is going to be my last race. There are not too many emotions, we know what our decision means.
"We're going into this race like we did in the last races, to do our best at the moment and see how we feel afterwards.
"It feels a bit different heading in, not fighting for the championship at all and not looking to next season, so it's different feelings I suppose to what I've felt in the past. But in general, we still feel pretty good for this race.
"I won't know until Monday how I feel."
While Stoner has set his sights on a victorious farewell, he admitted the pressure is relatively low as his dominant triumph at Phillip Island had already provided his fairytale goodbye.
"It was fantastic to see so many people go down for my last race there, the support I had the whole weekend and then to win was pretty much a fairytale," he explained.
"I had huge amounts of pressure and even though we had a little bit extra pace on everybody during the weekend you don't know what it will be like in the race.
"I was very nervous going into it, I didn't really know what to expect and was just praying it was going to turn out like the weather did last year, with rain a few laps from the end.
"In the end everything went perfectly for us. It was extremely unfortunate for Dani [Pedrosa] that he wasn't able to take up the fight, but Jorge [Lorenzo] has been so strong all year and deserves it.
"It was a fantastic day: for Australia with podiums in all three classes, but also for me to get that win and have the weight off my shoulders for [Valencia]."