Moto racing is insanely dangerous, even if everyone is following the rules and, you know, is moral and safe. The level of danger goes through the roof when emotion takes a racer over and he becomes a complete psychopath, as in the case of Italian racer Romano Fenati, who did something so insane, it cost him everything.
In the Moto2 San Marino Grand Prix, Fenati, who has a history of some bad behavior, escalated things to a new level. For much of the race, Fenati had been battling for the 12th position with rider Stefano Manzi. Eventually, things reached their boiling point when the two riders collided. Neither crashed, but both wobbled and ran off the track, dropping positions and out of the points for the race. Fenati was furious. So furious that he did something unthinkable.
Fenati pulled up alongside his rival, reached over and grabbed Manzi handbrake, pulling it and causing Manzi to swerve and skitter. Manzi didn’t crash right away, but it clearly took him out of his rhythm and he crashed in the next turn, ending his race. It was a completely moronic move. It was a move that would end Fenati’s career.
Fenati was immediately black flagged (kicked out of the race) and his day was done. Twitter exploded with calls for his suspension or expulsion from Moto2. To be sure, the black flag was only the beginning of Fenati’s punishments.
After the race, MotoGP suspended the rider for two races, in addition to his disqualification from the San Marino GP. If you think that sounds like light punishment for what could be argued was an attempt to severely injure another rider or indeed, kill him, you are not alone. This is dangerous racing and the move was that reckless and irresponsible.
Fenati’s racing team wasted little time in firing him and the team Fenati was signed with for next year also announced that they voided the contract. He was a pariah.
This wasn’t the first time Fenati was dropped by his team for bad behavior either, his previous team did the same thing, but nothing has topped this crazy move. But he’s been close. Here is Fenati in a race in Argentina in 2015 where he kicked a competitor.
On the Tuesday after the race, the Italian racing federation announced that they were revoking Fenati’s license, effectively ending his career, at least for now. Fenati released an apology (in Italian) on his website, taking full responsibility for his stupidity and later at a press conference with the Italian press announced that he was leaving racing for good and going back to school, saying, “With a cool head, I say that I will not race anymore, but I do not really know how I would see myself in five years. At the moment, I just want to put all this behind me.”
What’s more, an Italian consumer advocate group known as Codacons has formally reported the incident to Italian prosecutors and asked that Fenati be investigated for attempted murder. We’ll see how that pans out, but for now, it’s enough to know that Fenati won’t be racing again.
Racing is intense, but drivers and riders must understand the limits of what one can do when they feel slighted or wronged. Fenati might have had a legitimate beef with his rival, but he went way, way too far in retaliating and now, he’s paid the ultimate price. At age 22, he’s done in Moto racing.