Casey Stoner said he felt relieved going into Friday practice for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans having made his decision to retire from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season.
The reigning MotoGP champion and current points leader stunned the motorcycle racing fraternity on Thursday when he announced that this would be his final year in the sport. Stoner then went on to set the pace in both Friday practice sessions at Le Mans, ahead of Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
"After yesterday's announcement, I definitely felt a weight off my shoulders when I got on the bike this morning," said Stoner. "The last two races I've had a lot of thoughts running through my mind and this weekend I already feel better knowing it's off my chest and we can now focus on the rest of the season, and try to enjoy it."
Although Stoner has won the last two races in Portugal and Spain, Honda has continued to have issues with chatter in races this year, and focused on resolving this in Le Mans practice.
"Believe it or not, today we were trying to create chatter, so we can make the most use of this dry time on track to understand it a little better and make some improvements for the rest of the season," Stoner explained. "We are happy to use some of the sessions to focus on fixing the chatter issue, and not worry about the setup immediately.
"We started to find some chatter at the end of the day when we switched to the hard front tire and hopefully it will stay dry tomorrow so we can continue to work on this."