MotoGP

Fenati wins first race since incident that got him kicked out of sport

A year after being banned from racing after pulling the brake lever of a rival at more than 120mph, Romano Fenati moves from dog house to podium

Romano Fenati’s career rebuild has taken another solid step forward after clinching Moto3 victory during the Austrian MotoGP round, his first win since having his racing licence revoked in 2018. 

While the name Romano Fenati may not be common knowledge to your average person on the street or even anyone but the most enthusiastic MotoGP enthusiast, but Google him and the first video clip that comes up should bring back a few memories. 

The Romano Fenati Moto2 incident

Fenati was caught leaning over and squeezing the brake lever of his rival Stefano Manzi during the Misano round of the 2018 Moto2 race as they jostled side-by-side at more than 120mph. 

His actions were an extreme retaliation to some fairing-bashing with Manzi earlier in the lap and it certainly didn’t escape the notice of the TV production crew (who got it in full slow-motion ‘glory’) and quickly went viral, transcending mere MotoGP airwaves and making headlines around the world. 

The condemnation was swift and brutal, Fenati vilified for actions that very nearly saw a lawsuit brought against him for ‘attempted murder’…

In the end, Fenati was hit hardest in the pocket – as well as his reputation – being dropped by his Marinelli Snipers team and having his 2019 Moto2 deal with MV Agusta also thrown out. His racing licence was later revoked for the remainder of the 2018 season. 

It wasn’t his first controversy either. In 2015, he was caught turning the engine of a rival’s bike off just before he attempted a practice start, whilst his attitude and commitment – or lack thereof - led to him being dropped by Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Sky team having been touted once upon a time as a potential MotoGP superstar.

Fenati’s redemption in Austria?

Having originally stated he’d retire from motorcycle racing, Fenati instead returned to Moto3 for 2019 and has kept a low profile, albeit one that has shown solid form already this year prior to his dominant win in Austria.

Naturally, emotions were riding high in Austria, but for once it was for the right reasons. It’s his first win since 2017 in Japan.

We’re a believer in second chances (third, fourth, fifth) and Fenati has maintained a clean record since then. A hot head is one thing but being threatened with an ‘attempted murder’ lawsuit is ultimately another.

Lessons have hopefully been learnt and victory in Austria is another move towards redemption in what must be a very, very tough decision to attempt a comeback in a paddock he most certainly wasn’t welcome for a time… that skin must be very hard!

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