Romano Fenati returns to Moto2 class he was disqualified from in 2018

Romano Fenati will attempt to put the past firmly behind him as he returns to the Moto2 grid in 2022 for the first time since he was banned from it in 2018 

Romano Fenati

Romano Fenati will return to the Moto2 World Championship grid in 2022 for the first time since he was involved in a controversial incident with a rival that saw him thrown out of the Grand Prix Championship.

The Italian - a former protege of MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi and member of the VR46 Racing Academy - has endured a career tarnished by more than one controversial incident in the feeder classes to MotoGP.

However, after being forced to sit out half of the 2018 Moto2 season due to a shocking mid-race incident involving fellow Italian Stefano Manzi (more below), Fenati has steadily rebuilt his reputation with three seasons spent in Moto3 earning him three wins and fifth in the overall standings in 2021.

That performance has duly earned him a return to the intermediate class for 2022 with the SpeedUp Racing team, riding the Boscoscuro B-22 chassis alongside Fermin Aldeguer.

Romano Fenati | Villain to redemptive success?

It has been a sobering three years for Fenati, whose ‘bad boy’ reputation in the Grand Prix paddock came to a shocking head in 2018 when he had his motorcycle racing licence revoked for an incident during the San Marino Moto2 race at Misano.

Irritated he had been forced wide by the Manzi as the Italian overtook, Fenati was able to maintain momentum to stay alongside him as they raced down the straight, only for the Italian to reach over and squeeze his rival’s brake lever.

Though the incident elicited only a wobble that Manzi was able to hold, the incident - caught very clearly on the TV feed - drew derision from all corners of motorsport, with Fenati immediately losing his ride with Marinelli Snipers amid calls for a lifetime ban, while there was briefly talk of an ‘attempted murder’ charge being brought against him in one of the more heated responses.

Indeed, this hadn’t been the only high-profile incident involving Fenati, who freely admits he was hot headed as a youngster. He was chastised in 2015 when he kicked Niklas Ajo’s bike and turned the engine off during a practice star in warm up at Rio Termas de Hondo.

He was then thrown out of the VR46 Racing Academy in a disciplinary, though the formal reason was never communicated. 

Since then though Fenati, with the help of off-track coaching, has emerged as one of Moto3’s  more reliable steered hands, peaking with a run at the title in 2021 for Max Biaggi’s Husqvarna team.