Colin Edwards will retire from racing at the end of the 2014 MotoGP season.

The 40-year-old made the announcement during the pre-event press conference ahead of his home round in Austin.

"I don't even know how to say it, I rehearsed it so many times - 2014 will be my last year racing motorcycles," Edwards declared. "I talked with my beautiful wife and I've been in Europe since 1995 - and these young bastards have been kicking my ass since then! I have way too many people to thank, especially Yamaha."

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The popular, free speaking Texan received a round of applause from the media before being asked further about the decision.

"This year we started testing and didn't really see the improvement that I wanted to see and obviously the changing of the riding style - hell I'm 40 years old and trying to change my riding style to make this bike work, wasn't really working.

"As soon as you get into the intense moments you go back to your instincts and my instincts are to ride the bike differently. That and my kids, my wife. We had a few conversations and there are some things that I miss out on - baseball, gymnastics, school. I need to be home a lot more."

A double World Superbike champion, Edwards moved to MotoGP in 2003, initially with Aprilia, before claiming twelve podiums and three pole positions while riding for the Gresini Honda, Factory Yamaha and then Tech 3 Yamaha teams.

Edwards began a difficult new challenge in 2012 when he moved to Forward Racing and the new privateer CRT class, remaining with the team as it changed from Suter BMW to FTR Kawasaki and finally the more competitive Forward Yamaha machinery.

Team-mate Aleix Espargaro finished fourth in round one in Qatar, when Edwards claimed ninth place, confessing that his front-end riding style doesn't suit the M1-powered machine.

Edwards, who came within one corner of a MotoGP victory at Assen in 2006, said that his 2002 Imola WSBK title showdown with Troy Bayliss was the standout race in his career. "That was probably one of my best races ever, if I had to say one moment in motorcycling. The Suzuka 8 Hour victories were pretty good too."

"I'm very, very sad about the news because Colin is one of my best friends in the paddock," said former team-mate Valentino Rossi.

The 35-year-old Italian later confirmed he expects to race on in 2015, when he would take over from Edwards as the oldest rider on the grid.

"I said that I want to see if I am more competitive this year [before signing a new contract]. In the tests and in the first race I'm not so bad and I want to continue, yes," stated the nine time world champion.

Renowned for his technical skills, Edwards may also still be riding a MotoGP bike in 2015, should he accept some kind of test rider role.