Video shows outrageously dangerous moment Moto2 rider grabs rival's brakes mid-race
Romano Fenati, a rider in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing Moto2 class, let his temper get the better of him during a race on Sunday. The 22-year-old Italian was disqualified after 23 laps for "irresponsible riding" in San Marino, and was given a two-race suspension for his actions.
Pulling Stefano Manzi's brake lever, while the pair were travelling at around 140 mph, caused his rival to briefly lose his balance - but the outcome could have been far worse.
This isn't the first time that Fenati has been this dangerously impulsive on the racetrack. In the warm-up of the 2015 Moto3 Argentine Grand Prix, Fenati kicked out at Finnish rider Niklas Ajo - and even hit the kill switch on his opponents' motorcycle in a petty act. Afterwards, he was forced to apologise, but it seems that he didn't learn his lesson that day.
Last week's incident took place after frustration had built between Fenati and Manzi earlier in the race. Manzi attempted to overtake Fenati a few laps earlier and, as Manzi approached on the inside, the riders made contact. Both of them went off the track, losing several positions and dropping points.
"We had a contact two turns before, but nothing to justify such a reaction," Manzi said after the race. "His gesture speaks for itself."
You can see the incident, in which Fenati grabs the brake lever mid-race, in the video below:
The response to this event was overwhelmingly critical of Fenati, with many stating that he should have been punished more severely for his actions. British rider Cal Crutchlow said:
“I think he should never race a motorcycle again. He should have walked back in his garage and his team should have just kicked him straight out the back. You can’t do this to another motorcycle racer. We are risking our lives enough.
“Sure, maybe there was contact before, but there’s contact all the time. To grab the brake lever on the straight – he deserves to just be kicked straight out.”
Since this comment was made, Fenati's contract with the Marinelli Snipers Team has been terminated. And now, Fenati has made a public statement, in which he apologised for his actions:
"I apologise to the whole sports world. This morning, with a clear mind, I wish it had been just a bad dream. I think back to those moments, I made a disgraceful gesture, I was not a man.
"The criticisms are correct and I understand the resentment towards me. I want to apologise to everyone who believed in me and all those who felt hurt by my actions.
"It's true, unfortunately I have an impulsive character, but my intention was certainly not to hurt a driver like me but I wanted to make him understand that what he was doing was dangerous. I do not want to justify myself, I know that my gesture is not justifiable, I just want to apologise to everyone."
Even with his apology, it doesn't seem that Fenati's future in the sport is looking too bright. Giovanni Castiglioni said of the incident:
"This has been the worse and saddest thing I ever seen in a bike race. True sportsmen would never act this way. If I would be [series organiser] Dorna, I would ban him from world racing.
"Regarding his contract for a future position as rider of MV Agusta Moto 2, I will oppose myself in every way to stop it. It won't happen, he doesn't represent our company's true values."
While Fenati's actions, both here and in 2015, didn't cause any harm to other riders, things could have very easily turned out much worse. And, as Crutchlow said, these riders are risking their lives enough as it is.