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Moto2 Rider Romano Fenati Racing Career in Doubt Following Dangerous Race Action (with video)


Quick-tempered Italian Moto2 rider Romano Fenati was summarily sacked from both his current Marinelli Snipers Moto2 team, as well as his 2019 contract that had him slated to join MV Agusta’s return to the GP series with its own Moto2 team, in the aftermath of his dangerous on-track action that saw him intentionally hit the brake lever of fellow rider Stefano Manzi during Sunday’s Moto2 race at Misano, Italy. As shown in the video below, Fenati was caught on live TV catching up to Manzi on a straight and reaching out with his hand to slap the front brake lever of Manzi’s bike (not an easy thing to do with the front brake lever guards that are now mandatory on all MotoGP/Moto2/Moto3 machines), causing it to go into a dangerous wobble at high speed. Luckily, Manzi did not crash and kept going, but he ended up crashing out of the race half a lap later while continuing to battle with Fenati.

After MotoGP Race Direction handed Fenati a two-race suspension after the conclusion of the Moto2 race, and the Marinelli Snipers team released a statement saying that it accepted the penalty, and that it would like to move forward from the incident. But social media backlash at Fenati was swift and viral, with many calling for the Italian—who already had a history of temper tantrums that caused him to be released from several teams, including a coveted spot on Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Sky team—to be banned from racing indefinitely. Veteran GP insider (and former Aprilia Racing boss) Carlo Pernat had worked with Fenati before, and was so incensed by the incident that he reportedly spoke with the bosses at MV Agusta, who had signed Fenati as part of their planned return to MotoGP racing next year with a Moto2 team. Rumors began circulating that Fenati’s future with MV was in serious doubt.

It got worse for Fenati this morning, as first the Marinelli Snipers team sent out a statement saying that the Italian had been released from his contract with the team effective immediately. It was soon followed up by a statement from Giovanni Castiglioni, CEO of MV Agusta, and Giovanni Cuzari, team owner of Forward Racing—the team entrusted with running the MV Agusta factory effort—stating that Fenati’s contract for 2019 had been terminated. The condemnation from both teams was pretty explicit, with the Marinelli Snipers team stating that, “…the Marinelli Snipers Team shall terminate the contract with the rider Romano Fenati, (effective immediately), for his unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct for the image of (motorcycle racing). With extreme regret, we have to note that his irresponsible act endangered the life of another rider and cannot be apologized (for) in (any) way.” Castiglioni’s statement was even more damning, saying,”In all my years of watching sport, I have never seen behavior as dangerous as this. A rider who can act like this can never represent the values of our company for our brand. For this reason, we do not want him to be the rider with which MV Agusta makes its return to the World Championship.” Cuzari followed up with the fact that, “Our sport is already extremely dangerous, and any act which increases the risks involved for the riders is intolerable. We cannot accept behaviour of this type from one of our future riders.”

Fenati was seen as a rising star when he burst onto the Moto3 racing scene with a second-place finish in his first race at Qatar in 2012. The then-16-year-old went on to win the following race at Jerez, and many were tabbing the young Italian as a future world champion. But inconsistent results continued to cloud Fenati’s racing career, with much of that blamed on his volatile temper that often saw him vociferously berating mechanics and team personnel. His riding skills were evident though, and even Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Sky team took a chance on Fenati in 2014. But his temperament got the better of him, and Fenati was released at the end of the season despite four victories.


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44 Comments

  1. Paisanoracer says:

    As is usual (and typical) the main topic is becoming upstaged by the on-going Rossi/Marques “soap opera.” I commend those who were honest in their admission of road rage when encountering jerks on the road. Like the expression goes “Acknowledgement is the first step in problem solving.” Let me add this without sounding too dramatic. As tough as it is to let a jerk get away with misbehavior on the road, the consequences of that same jerk pulling out a handgun is far worse. Too the topic at hand– Fenati’s future, or lack of, in racing has already been sealed. Correctly so. I’ve heard that possible criminal charges might be pending in Italy. Whether or not that materializes, he is definitely in serious need of psychological treatment. Especially in light of his past behaviors…

  2. john welch says:

    Hey Derek,

    How about publicizing Canepa at Mugello in 2013. He has not received appropriate punishment his assault on another rider.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h3LvcY2CJs

    best regards – John

  3. mugwump says:

    You should read his Mom’s/manager responses to all the events in his career. There’s the genesis of the problem. I opine.

  4. Jim L. says:

    Nicola Canepa, he is still racing.

    • mugwump says:

      I’ve ragged on Niccolo since that event. I’ve read, spurred by the latest event, follow ups on that. No criminal charges. The explaination was Niccolo coaching another rider on how to ride Mugello and the other rider was strafing them, so Niccolo slowed and touched his arm to tell him to chill out when the “event” took place. He was later sued. I wasn’t there and I couldn’t tell with the video that I could watch. Trying to find out what happened was an interesting rabbit hole to fall down.

  5. B7 says:

    I just read the article and it seems Fenati wants the last say. “Can’t fire me I quit…”

  6. John says:

    What happens when a rider with a severe personality disorder races. Mental illness should be reserved for entertainers and politicians. Life in the fast lane. Too bad we have to share it with sociopaths at times.

  7. Michael says:

    Fenati just retired. He has said he is done with motorcycle racing for good.

  8. pete says:

    hmmm, before watching the video I was thinking an endo and sparks and all sorts of carnage. This was stupid, risky and dangerous but it’s no worse than a Marquez hard pass. It looked like a prank or something. Go find the Canepa WSB incident. That was criminal. I’m probably the only one and he seems to be a hothead but I kind of feel sorry for him. Probably ended his racing career over such stupidity.

  9. motowarrior says:

    Good to see one of our sports heroes being treated like a person and not a god. The punishment fit the crime.

  10. c says:

    Same thing VR did a fews years back and what happened to him?

    • Stratkat says:

      ??? when did Rossi grab a fellow racer’s front brake lever?

      • Dave says:

        He deliberately kicked Marquez’ handlebar/brake and put him down.

        • Bob K says:

          That again…
          .
          There’s still 2 schools of thought on that.
          .
          1. He put his leg out to protect himself from a more serious impact when he saw Marc gas it and try to force his way into a space that Rossi already occupied even though he was being cornered deliberately for a tongue lashing.
          .
          2. He kicked out to show he was pissed off. He didn’t kick at the handlebar and brake, BTW.
          .
          People are still divided on this. Nevertheless, Rossi behaved poorly. And Marc had an option he didn’t choose to explore, brake rather than ride side by side with Rossi until there was no more room then go down.

        • VLJ says:

          No, he didn’t. At all.

    • Dave says:

      When you’re the entire sport’s cash-cow, the rules are applied a little more “loosely”.

    • 5229 says:

      Not much because he’s Rossi.You don’t kick a another racer accidently. You would do it deliberately. There are no “two schools of thought” on this.
      Fenati did not accidently squeeze Manzi’s brake lever.
      Rossi got away with that one with minimal penalty.

  11. bmbktmracer says:

    It’s a good reminder of how quickly we can bone-up our lives in an instant of rage.

    • Bob K says:

      It’s a good point to remember. I’m easily susceptible to road rage and have done some dumb retaliatory acts in the past. So far I’ve been lucky. And as I get older, I’m less tolerant of other people’s BS each day, so I need to remember any incident could possibly end up costing me dearly, and my family. A criminal record, loss of a job, loss of potential new jobs, loss of money all the way up to losing everything including the house and even your family.
      .
      As difficult as it is to do, everyone should make a concerted effort to take a deep breath when some idiot nearly kills us. I’m doing my best to do the same.

      • Ricardo says:

        Very good point Bob, I also have a short fuse and get enraged on the road, but more recently when I see a bad behavior and not able to see the person driving, I usually think that is an older person and someone’s father or mother, and yes, maybe 5 out of 10 times I am right and don’t do anything to aggravate them. It has worked well so far. There is way too many people on phones these days so we need to act as if we are invisible to other people and just ride defensively all the time.

        • abanta@cableone.net says:

          Very good point Bob and Ricardo! I do suffer from the same prob, and yes as Ricardo points out we are invisible and everyone is on the phone. I’d often times like to do them harm. Why isn’t it mandatory that phones don’t function cars, buses trucks and so on. Pull over and save a life.

          • Bob K says:

            The problem I see isn’t so much phones anymore as much as people taking big risks in my presence, cutting in on my lane while I’m still there… in both directions, barreling across my path from their stop sign, etc. All in all, risky behaviors based on self-importance and impatience with no regard to anyone else around them.
            .
            I’ve also been a big proponent of the only function of a phone that works while driving is the ability to dial 9-1-1 while sitting in the driver’s seat. If the car has the ability of hands-free for dialing and talking and the ability to read texts and send auto replies, I’m ok with that as well. Any other function, should be disabled. The technology is capable now to detect a phone within a given proximity of the steering wheel or by a human’s weight on the driver seat. A signal can tell the phone to have limited functionality and it can do it in a given proximity…say 3 ft from the steering wheel. Anyone else outside that proximity in the vehicle can do what they want. My Jeep knows if my key fob is inside the car and will not allow me to lock the door, why not detect a phone.
            .
            The gov should mandate manufacturers of phones and cars comply with a standard that does this. But they only care about safer crashing, not preventing crashing, hence why we have 10,000 retail bucks of nannies driving vehicle prices sky high.

      • RSVR says:

        Bub K: you make it sound like you won’t be on the losing end of your rage issue. Might want to check your assumption that you won’t act out and end up unalive soon thereafter.

  12. Matt says:

    I think that its safe to assume that everyone here agrees that sort of behavior is entirely unacceptable. Seeing as this is not his first transgression, and that he has lost rides in the past over his temper and still not gotten the message, I will feel no pity if he is never so much as looked at by another team.

  13. Grover says:

    Million dollar talent with a 10 cent brain.

  14. Tom R says:

    Definitely not cool.

    But is it OK to reach over and hit your riding buddy’s engine kill switch as the light turns green?

    • Hot Dog says:

      A woman will do the same thing, where suddenly a buddy would rather stay at home with the “skirt” instead of ride with the boys.

      Fenati belongs in MMA (hoping he’d get his head handed to him).

    • Stratkat says:

      yes, absolutely. in fact you buddy probably had it coming, lol

  15. Anonymous says:

    Had the rider crashed and died that would be a manslaughter charge. Little punk-ass bitch.

  16. paquo says:

    career over

  17. Dave says:

    Nice to see swift and decisive action on the part of the teams in a day and age when an athlete’s talent and promise of victory typically excuses them from awful behavior.

    Cycling’s Team Sky needs to see and follow this example with their own headcase, Gianni Moscon.

  18. Brian says:

    Thanks to Crutchlow for speaking up when Dovi and Márquez didn’t. It had to be said in the open by those who race and risk their lives on any given weekend.

  19. TwinDog says:

    Beyond belief. Thats crazy. Outa here!

  20. Ricardo says:

    Well deserved not to be in any team in the future, what if the other rider crashed and died? there is no way this can be accepted anywhere…

    • Bob K says:

      I don’t know what speed they were at when Fenati did this, but yeah, it was potentially devastating.
      .
      I’ve been thrown over the bars before at around 70 mph when my front axle clamp broke. Wheel cocked then locked. Sent me through the wind screen, up, up and away and the bike came tumbling after me. Last thing I remember before I hit the ground was watching the ground come at me. I was out cold for a while. Broken heel, 4 broken ribs and a clavicle in 7 pieces and a concussion. Was off work for 2 months. I was lucky. It seems death took a day off work. Or all that expensive gear that I didn’t skimp on did it’s job.