MILAN (AFP) - Moto2 rider Romano Fenati has been banned for two races for grabbing Italian rival Stefano Manzi's brake during the San Marino motorcycling Grand Prix on Sunday (Sept 9).
Both were competing at high speed around the Misano track when 22-year-old Kalex rider Fenati leaned over and pressed Manzi's brake lever. Manzi briefly lost his balance before regaining control of his Suter bike.
Fenati's actions followed Manzi's attempt to overtake his compatriot a few laps earlier. The pair had made contact as Manzi overtook on the inside, with both riders running off the track, losing several positions and dropping out of the points.
Fenati - a Moto2 rookie this year aboard a Marinelli Snipers-run Kalex bike - was black-flagged and disqualified after 23 laps for "irresponsible riding".
The FIM MotoGP stewards panel later announced that Fenati would miss the next two races in Aragon, Spain on September 23 and Thailand on October 7 for having "deliberately attempted to cause danger to another rider".
"Riders must ride in a responsible manner which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants, either on the track or in the pit lane," the FIM said in a statement.
It is not the first time the Italian rider has been embroiled in controversy. He was forced to apologise for kicking out at Finnish rider Niklas Ajo during the Moto3 warm-up at the 2015 Argentinian Grand Prix.
He was dropped for disciplinary reasons during the 2016 season by the Sky Racing Team VR46, owned by Italian motorcycling star Valentino Rossi.
Fenati, who can appeal the ban, is 19th in the Moto2 standings with 14 points.
"We had a contact two turns before, but nothing to justify such a reaction, his gesture speaks for itself," said Manzi.
Manzi was also penalised and will start six places back on the grid for the next Grand Prix, for forcing Fenati off the track, shortly before the latter's outburst, when both were fighting for 12th position.
Italy's Francesco Bagnaia, of Kalex, won the Moto2 category race in Misano on Sunday ahead of Miguel Oliveira of KTM, to extend his lead over the Portuguese rider to eight points in the overall standings.