WE ALL make mistakes. Silly, spur of the moment impulse decisions. But we’re not all motorcycle racers at world championship level. And while our poor decisions may leave us red faced or a few pennies worse off, Romano Fenati’s have cost him his career. But it could have cost Stefano Manzi so much more.
Rewind to Sunday’s Misano Grand Prix in San Marino, when the 22-year-old grabbed rival Manzi's front brake at 140 miles per hour during the Moto2 race. Luckily Manzi managed to keep control of the bike, although later retired from the race, while Fenati was black flagged and excluded. Up until that point Fenati was 19th in Moto2 standings, while Manzi was 23rd.
Things went downhill pretty quickly from there. Despite issuing an apology, in which he called his actions ‘disgraceful’, Fenati was immediately handed a two-race ban by MotoGP organisers, before being fired from his current outfit, Marinelli Snipers Team, and losing next season’s ride with Forward Racing – the very team that Manzi currently rides for. Yeah, sabotaging your future teamie was never going to go down well…
And yesterday, following much (deserved) vitriol from the racing world, Fenati announced his retirement from racing. He claimed that he had already been considering his future in the sport, following previous criticism (it’s not the first time that he’s lost his temper on track).
With his career no longer on the line, Fenati changed his tune a little in his latest comments to Italian newspaper La Repubblica
“I’m finished with the motorcycle world, I will not run again. I was wrong, it’s true: I apologise to everyone,” he said.
But, he added: “Do you want to see my helmet and my leathers? There is a long black strip, the Manzi rubber. He [Manzi] attacked me three times and he could have killed me too, as you say. The last time I had it done to me was 500m before (his incident), then I thought ‘now I do the same, I’ll show you that I can be bad’ and maybe you will finally understand what it means.
“But I never thought to hurt him, I swear.”
So the Aragon grid will be one rider lighter on Sunday 23rd September, and while we feel somewhat sorry for the hot-headed young Italian, it’s certainly for the better. There’s no place in racing for 140mph temper tantrums on track.