Former MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo was as surprised as anyone by title rival Casey Stoner's retirement announcement at the Le Mans pre-event press conference on Thursday evening.

Yamaha star Lorenzo currently trails Honda's reigning double champion Stoner by just one point heading into this weekend's fourth round.

"It's a surprise for me, for everyone. I didn't expect it. I heard the rumours and I thought there was a possibility, but I thought that Casey would continue next year," said Lorenzo, sitting alongside Stoner at the press conference.

"But now he has told us, it's not good news for MotoGP I think, but his decision is to live quietly with his family and we must respect his decision."

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow saw the lighter side: "With Casey making that announcement, maybe he can slow down and let me have a place in the top three."

26-year-old Stoner, a winner of 35 MotoGP races, will retire at the end of this season.