Romano Fenati: Moto2 rider apologizes for grabbing rival’s brake

(CNN) — Moto2 rider Romano Fenati has apologized after squeezing a rival’s brake lever while the pair hurtled down a straight at Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix.

Fenati has been dropped by his Marinelli Snipers Team following “dangerous conduct” following the incident with fellow rider Stefano Manzi during the second-tier race.

The “irresponsible riding” caused Manzi to wobble on his bike but the outcome could have been been disastrous with the pair racing at 130mph.

Fenati has since apologized to the “whole sports world” following news that his contract had been terminated.

“This morning, with a clear mind, I wish it had been just a bad dream,” the statement read. “I think and I think back to those moments, I made a disgraceful gesture, I was not a man!”

“I should not have reacted to provocations. The criticisms are correct and I understand the resentment towards me.”

Moto2 is a support series to the elite-level MotoGP.

‘Dangerous and damaging conduct’

Fenati was initially shown the black flag by MotoGP officials, resulting in race disqualification, and he was subsequently banned for the next two races.

However on Monday, following calls for stronger punishment, his current team announced it would be terminating his contract.

“The Marinelli Snipers Team shall terminate the contract with the rider Romano Fenati, from now on, for his unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct,” a statement read.

“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 rider, from this moment, will not participate in any more races with the Marinelli Snipers team.”

Fenati was set to leave his current contract at the end of the season and join up with Forward Racing. But the deal, which runs in partnership with Italian manufacturer MV Agusta, now appears to be in jeopardy.

MV Agusta president Giovanni Castiglioni called the incident the “saddest thing I have ever seen in a bike race” and has promised to rip up the contract.

In an Instagram post, he said: “Regarding his [Fenati’s] 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’s true values.”

This isn’t the first time that Fenati has been involved in outbursts against other riders.

The rookie was forced to apologize after kicking out at a fellow rider in 2015. The same year, he turned off an opponent’s engine before a practice start, while he was dropped for disciplinary reasons during the 2016 season.

‘We are risking our lives enough’

Fenati’s actions in San Marino seemingly stemmed from an encounter at a previous corner where Manzi had attempted to overtake. The pair made contact and ran each other off the track, resulting in a crucial loss of position and a penalty for Manzi.

The current Forward Racing driver will drop six places on the grid at the next race but believes the previous coming together doesn’t justify Fenati’s life-threatening reaction.

“We had a contact two turns before, but nothing to justify such a reaction, his gesture speaks for itself,” said Manzi.

British rider Cal Crutchlow, who finished third in the race, believes Fenati should be banned for life.

“He should have walked back to the garage and his team should have just kicked him straight out the back,” Crutchlow said.

“You can’t do this to another motorcycle racer. We are risking our lives enough.”

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