Motorcycle Racer Fired From Team After Grabbing Competitor's Brake During Race

Moto2 rider Romano Fenati was penalized, then fired after grabbing Stefano Manzi's brake lever during the MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix.

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This weekend, Moto2 racer Romano Fenati made the unfathomably boneheaded decision to reach over and grab competitor Stefano Manzi's brake lever during the San Marino Grand Prix. Immediately, the move earned Fenati a black flag, a disqualification, and a two-race penalty. Now, Fenati has been fired effective immediately.

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Update, Sept. 11, 2018, 11:00AM: This article was originally published on September 10th. Today, that, in addition to the other penalties described below, Fenati could be investigated for attempted murder: Italian consumer-rights group Codacons has announced that it has reported Fenati to local prosecutors, asking authorities to investigate "any relevant criminal offenses, including that of attempted murder."

Fenati's jerk move came as he and Manzi were battling for position in Moto2, the second-tier racing series below MotoGP. Fenati and Manzi were running neck-to-neck when both riders overcooked a corner and briefly went off-track. Both riders maintained control and got back onto the racing line when Fenati reached over to Manzi's motorcycle and squeezed his brake lever in an apparent attempt to cause Manzi to lose control. Manzi stayed upright, but crashed not long after Fenati's meddling.

Immediately, Fenati was penalized by the racing organization, but the full repercussions came today: Fenati's team, Marinelli Snipers, ended his contract effective immediately. In , the team said Fenati's "irresponsible act endangered the life of another rider and can't be apologized in [any] way."

The after-effects didn't end there. Fenati was slated to compete for MV Agusta in Moto2 starting in 2019; today, that company's president, Giovanni Castiglioni, published a post on Instagram stating that he will do everything he can to oppose Fenati joining the team, calling it the "worst" and "saddest" thing he'd ever seen in a motorcycle race.

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Fenati apologizing for his action, calling it "a disgraceful gesture" and stating that he's "always been a just rider" and has "never put someone else's life in jeopardy." But longtime motorcycle racing fans will remember instances where Fenati punched and kicked at fellow racers at speed, including this incident from the Moto3 warm-up in Argentina in 2015 which culminated in Fenati reaching over and hitting the kill switch on Niklas Ajo's motorcycle, forcing him to withdraw from the warmup event:

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