Professional motorcycle riders are known for having to push the limits on their bikes, but Romano Fenati crossed a line at the San Marino Moto2 grand prix on Sunday, grabbing his opponent’s brake lever while travelling at 225km/h.
Less than 24 hours later, Fenati was sacked by his Marinelli Snipers team on Monday for his “unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct” and an offer to join the new MV Agusta team next season will be withdrawn.
“Regarding his contract for a future position as rider of MV Agusta Moto 2, I will oppose myself in every way to stop it,” MV Agusta boss Giovanni Castiglioni said on Instagram.
“It won’t happen. He doesn’t represent our company’s true values.”
Moto2 is the secondary class to MotoGP, where riders race less powerful machines than in the premier class.
Fenati, 22, was engaged in a fierce battle with fellow Italian Stefan Manzi at the Misano circuit, with both riders losing time after coming together earlier in the race at turn four.
Once the two riders got back up and racing, Fenati took his revenge on the exit of turn seven, reaching over and grabbing Manzi’s brake.
Current and former riders were quick to condemn Fenati’s actions, branding the Italian as irresponsible and dangerous.
Former MotoGP rider Colin Edwards said Fenati, “put somebody’s life in danger” in commentary for BT Sport.
“This is unbelievable. Are you kidding me?” the veteran of 196 MotoGP races added.
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— MotoGP™🇸🇲🏁 (@MotoGP) September 9, 2018
MotoGP race winner Andrea Dovizioso said: “I think for sure what he did is very bad, but black flag is normal.”
“We have to see what happened before, with Manzi … but in any case, you can’t do that.”
Runner-up Marc Marquez suggested that a suspension was in order.
“They need to put some penalty that the other guys will never do … that if you do this, you will not race.”
The rookie was banned for two races, although British rider Cal Crutchlow – who finished in third in the premier class race – said in his post-race press conference that Fenati should be banned for life.
“I think they’re too diplomatic,” Crutchlow said to laughter in the press conference.
“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 and if somebody grabs your brake …”
Crutchlow’s comments were greeted by a smattering of applause from the press gallery.
Remarkably, Manzi managed to hold on to the bike after the incident and continue racing, although he later crashed out in a separate incident.
For his role in the turn four incident, Manzi was penalised six grid positions at the next grand prix at Aragon in Spain.