The motorbike rider sacked for grabbing a rival’s brake lever at 225km/h has spoken out about the “disgraceful” act that’s seen him condemned in the motorsport world.
Italian Moto2 rider Romano Fenati apologised for his “impulsive” behaviour after being sacked by his Marinelli Snipers Team for grabbing rival Stefano Manzi’s brake while riding at high speed during the San Marino motorcycling Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old has also been banned for two Grand Prix and could face criminal proceedings for his “disgraceful gesture”.
Both riders were speeding around the Misano track on Sunday when Fenati – aboard a Marinelli Snipers-run Kalex bike – leaned over and pressed Manzi’s brake lever.
Manzi briefly lost his balance before regaining control of his bike.
Fenati’s actions followed Manzi’s attempt to overtake him a few laps earlier, with both riders running off the track.
“I apologise to the world of sport. This morning, with a lucid mind, I wish it had just been a bad dream,” Fenati said in a statement.
“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.
“A horrible image of me and of the sport has come out. I’m not like that, people who know me well know that!
“In my career, I’ve always been a fair rider. Last year I was one of the few who was not penalised, I have never put someone else’s life in jeopardy, on the contrary, I have always maintained that there are riders on the track who are dangerous because of their riding style.”
“Unfortunately I have an impulsive character, but my intention was certainly not to hurt a rider like me, rather I wanted to make him understand that what he was doing was dangerous and how I could also have done something similar to what he did to me!
“I just want to apologise to everyone. Now I will have time to reflect and clear my head.”
Fenati’s team confirmed they were severing his contract “for his unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct.”
“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 said.
“The rider, from this moment, will not participate in any more races with the Marinelli Snipers team.”
– ‘Never seen behaviour as dangerous’ –
Fenati also lost his ride next season with he has lost his ride at Forward Racing, which will run in partnership with Italian manufacturer MV Agusta.
“Our sport is already extremely dangerous, and any act which increases the risks involved for the riders is intolerable,” Forward Racing owner Giovanni Cuzari said.
“We cannot accept behaviour of this type from one of our future riders.”
Giovanni Castiglioni, president of MV Agusta, said: “In all my years of watching sport, I have never seen behaviour as dangerous as this. A rider who can act like this can never represent the values of our company, and our brand.”
Fenati also made headlines 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 was 19th in the Moto2 standings with 14 points.