Doohan's career comes to the end

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The Independent Online

Five-time world 500cc motorcycling champion Mick Doohan hobbled to the end of the road as a racer today but appears set for a career in management.

Five-time world 500cc motorcycling champion Mick Doohan hobbled to the end of the road as a racer today but appears set for a career in management.

Eleven years of racing have left their toll on Doohan who walks with a pronounced limp and decided to quit because he was struggling to recover from a horrific crash in Spain in May.

Walking for the first time in months without a cane, Doohan, is slowly recovering from a broken right leg, shoulder and left wrist suffered in the fall.

His physical condition and soft tissue nerve damage is even worse than after the 1992 crash that almost resulted in his right leg being amputated.

The Australian is expected to take a management role with Honda as a guiding light to young Italian star Valentino Rossi.

Doohan was coy about the move at a news conference in the Gold Coast, Australia today.

"Until I know what the situation is and what he's doing exactly and so on and so forth I can't comment on that," Doohan said. "We're still working out the details of what I'm going to do."

But moving from pole position to the sidelines will not be easy.

"Realistically I'm not good at watching races, so I really don't think I will be watching them that much. I'll be in the background, working behind the scenes."

By staying in racing circles there could be pressure on him to return to racing but Doohan said he would likely resist.

"I'm washed up," Doohan he said, flashing a wide grin.

"The inevitable has happened and I knew it had to happen some time. Unfortunately it is not the way I would have liked it to stop."

The usually stoic Doohan confessed to a wide range of emotions over his retirement, from sadness and frustration to a sense of relief.

"Frustration in as much as I couldn't get back on and ride the way I'd like to finish riding," Doohan said.

"Relief because I've been saying to myself for some time that I've got to stop. When do I stop? It really is hard to try and stop something you enjoy so much and you are having success at. So I've really found it hard."

Among Doohan's personal career highlights are his first world championship crown in 1994 and his 1998 victory in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

"I'm really astounded at what I was able to achieve in my career," he said, humbly.

"Realistically I was just somebody who set about to do it in the most professional manner they could and had some good results."

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