MotoGP: Sacked for a reckless act

Romano Fenati reaching out to press Stefano Manzi's brake lever. The latter lost his balance briefly before regaining control of his bike.
Romano Fenati reaching out to press Stefano Manzi's brake lever. The latter lost his balance briefly before regaining control of his bike.PHOTO: TWITTER/BTSPORT

Moto2 rider Fenati fired after he pressed rival's brake lever while racing at 225kmh

MILAN • Italian rider Romano Fenati has been sacked by his Moto2 team, with next year's deal to race for another team in MV Agusta also in tatters, after he grabbed a rival's brake lever while racing in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

The Marinelli Snipers announced they had terminated the 22-year-old's contract on account of "his unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct for the image of all".

"With extreme regret, we have to note that his irresponsible act endangered the life of another rider and can't be apologised for in any way," the team added yesterday.

The boss of Italian bike maker Agusta, Giovanni Castiglioni, also vowed to scrap a contract that had been in place for next year.

Fenati was disqualified on the spot, barred from the next two races and could face criminal proceedings after the incident at Misano on Italy's Adriatic coast that made waves around the world.

"This has been the worse and saddest thing I ever seen in a bike race. True sportsmen would never act this way," Castiglioni told his 565,000 followers on Instagram.

"If I would be (MotoGP promoters) Dorna, I would ban him from world racing. Regarding his contract for a future position as rider of MV Agusta Moto2, I will oppose myself in every way to stop it. It won't happen, he doesn't represent our company true values."

CAN'T BELIEVE I DID THAT

This morning, with a lucid mind, I wish it had just been a bad dream. I made a disgraceful gesture, I was not a man.

ROMANO FENATI, Moto2 rider, issued an apology yesterday for his behaviour at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Fenati said yesterday in a statement: "I apologise to the world of sport. This morning, with a lucid mind, I wish it had just been a bad dream. I made a disgraceful gesture, I was not a man. A man would have finished the race and then he would have gone to race direction to try and get some justice for the preceding incident. I shouldn't have reacted to provocation."

He and fellow Italian Stefano Manzi were racing down a straight at the Misano circuit at 225kmh when the Kalex rider leaned over and pressed Manzi's brake lever.

Manzi briefly lost his balance before regaining control of his Suter bike, and Fenati - a Moto2 rookie this year - was black-flagged and disqualified after 23 laps for "irresponsible riding".

The Kalex rider's actions followed Manzi's attempt to overtake him a few laps earlier, with both riders running off the track.

Fenati was once seen as a rising star but controversy has dogged his career.

When riding in Moto3 in 2015, he kicked a switch off a rival's bike during practice starts and was let go by Valentino Rossi's Sky VR46 programme in 2016 after his Moto3 team suspended him for "behaviour not in line with the disciplinary rules of the team".

"It's difficult to forgive a gesture like that, where an opponent tries to kill a rival at over 200km per hour," said Manzi.

Italy's Francesco Bagnaia of Kalex won the race ahead of Miguel Oliveira of KTM to sit on 214 points and extend his lead over the Portuguese to eight in the standings. Fenati is 19th with 14 points.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Sacked for a reckless act'. Print Edition | Subscribe