Veteran Colin Edwards announces plans to retire from MotoGP circuit

Veteran motorcycle racer Colin Edwards said Thursday he plans to retire from the MotoGP series at the end of this season.

Edwards, 40, made the surprise announcement during a news conference for riders competing this weekend in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas.

"I don't know exactly how to say it -- even though I've rehearsed it I don't know how many times -- 2014 will be my last of racing MotoGP," the track quoted Edwards as saying.

A Houston native nicknamed the "Texas Tornado," Edwards initially raced in the World Superbike series of high-speed motorcycle racing, winning championships in 2000 and 2002.

He moved in 2003 to MotoGP, whose leading riders include seven-time champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, reigning champion Marc Marquez of Spain and fellow American rider Nicky Hayden.

"I am very sad about the news of Colin's retirement as he is one of my best friends in the paddock," the MotoGP website quoted Rossi as saying. "He is a great guy and a great rider."

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