May said that what has happened was a “tragedy” and that “as much as I think he’s a knob, I quite liked working with Jeremy”.
“I don’t really have anything to say about it. It’s a tragedy. I’m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily, turned into something big, but I don’t want to say anything more than that as I have only known for the past few minutes, and if you excuse me, I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.”
May, who has described himself on Twitter as a “former TV presenter”, added that his role at Top Gear “requires much thought, deliberation and conversation’’ before he makes a decision about his future.
His fellow co-presenter Richard Hammond wrote on Twitter: “Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We’re all three of us idiots in our different ways but it’s been an incredible ride together.”
Former tabloid newspaper editor Piers Morgan, Clarkson’s long-time sparring partner, revealed that he would be guest-presenting ITV’s Good Morning Britain for a week next month, before adding: “This doesn’t prevent me doing Top Gear as well, obviously.”
He subsequently wrote: “If he’d stuck to just punching me, he’d have been fine. #Clarkson.”
Star Trek actor William Shatner weighed into the debate, tweeting: “Clarkson will be fine. Sponsors would be silly not to pick him up and establish a competitor show and the viewers will probably follow him.’’
He added: “What Clarkson did was wrong and I’m sure he regrets it.”
Meanwhile, the Top Gear producer who was assaulted by Clarkson has come under huge abuse from trolls on Twitter, including receiving death threats.
Oisin Tymon, who does not have a Twitter account, was subjected to violent and threatening tweets, with many blaming him for Mr Clarkson’s departure from Top Gear.