Romano Fenati sacked by team after grabbing rider's lever break during race

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Italian rider Romano Fenati has been sacked by his team after pulling a rival’s brake lever while racing at 140mph on Sunday.

Fenati was black flagged after reaching across to Stefano Manzi’s bike and pulling the brake lever in the Moto2 race at San Marino. Manzi managed to stay upright on his bike.

Fenati was given a suspension of two Grands Prix, but now his penalty appears to be greater, with his team tearing up his contract and his future employer doing likewise.

Marinelli Snipers Team said in a statement on Monday: “The Marinelli Snipers Team shall terminate the contract with the rider Romano Fenati, from now on, for his unsporting, dangerous and damaging conduct for the image of all.

“With extreme regret, we have to note that his irresponsible act endangered the life of another rider and can’t be apologised (for) in no way.”

And Giovanni Castiglioni, boss of the MV Agusta team which was due to sign Fenati for 2019, said the 22-year-old should be banned from racing and his scheduled deal “won’t happen”.

The Italian entrepreneur wrote on Instagram: “This has been the worse and saddest thing I ever seen in a bike race.

“True sportsmen would never act this way. If I would be Dorna (MotoGP’s parent company) I would ban him from world racing.

“Regarding his contract for a future position as rider of MV Agusta Moto 2, I will oppose myself in every way to stop it.

“It won’t happen, he doesn’t represent our company true value.”

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Dubai's Ed Jones digs deep to secure top 10 berth at IndyCar Series

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British driver Ed Jones thrived despite difficult build-up.

Dubai-born Ed Jones rolled the dice in last weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park – digging deep to tally a seventh top-ten finish of the 2018 campaign.

The race was round 15 of 17 on the fiercely-disputed Verizon IndyCar Series calendar and whilst his late podium bid didn’t quite come off under the Illinois floodlights, he nevertheless impressed.

Unlike many of their rivals, Chip Ganassi Racing did not undergo testing at the 1.25-mile St. Louis oval earlier this year, meaning IndyCar sophomore Jones headed into the weekend somewhat on the back foot.

However, the British driver was immediately on the pace behind the wheel of his 720bhp Dallara-Honda single-seater, lapping fifth-quickest among the 21  contenders in FP1 – a session repeatedly interrupted by rain that left puddles of standing water at the entry to the pit-lane.

With the elements playing havoc with the track schedule, qualifying was cancelled in favour of a longer final practice to allow drivers and teams more time to dial their cars in for the following evening’s 248-lap race. Jones improved to fourth in that session.

The field lined up in championship order, meaning Jones took the start from 12th position but he gained three spots straight away and soon settled into seventh, chasing former champions Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Breaking away from the pursuing pack and pegging leader Dixon for pace – at one stage posting the fastest lap of anybody at an average speed of 177.362mph – the European F3 Open Champion went on a charge.

Pulling off a series of spectacular overtakes, he scythed his way past Pagenaud, defending title-holder and Gateway race-winner Josef Newgarden and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, before latching onto his team-mate’s tail.

A late splash ‘n’ dash fuel top-up with 22 laps to go dropped Jones to 10th, from where he battled back to eighth at the chequered flag.

The 23-year-old 2016 Indy Lights Champion and 2017 IndyCar ‘Rookie of the Year’ will return to the fray this coming weekend (August 30-September 2) for the Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway, the penultimate round on IndyCar’s 2018 schedule.

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Red Bull motocross star Mohammed Al Balooshi hits fitness peak to make history

Nick Watkins 15/08/2018
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Riding high: Al Balooshi became the first Emirati to win the FIM crown

Red Bull athlete Mohammed Al Balooshi is a motocross and desert rally rider, and the first Emirati to take part in the Dakar Rally. In an exclusive interview with Sport360 he tells us how he became the first Emirati to claim the FIM crown.

Physically, riding in Hungary was challenging because mud was getting everywhere so the bike is a lot heavier. If you take a desert rider, like myself, and race on mud, it makes you fatigue a lot faster than someone who is used to riding on that surface. It’s not natural for me, so the body and mind felt it a lot more, as I was out of my comfort zone. My body gets tried in mud because you try to ride, it’s not coming naturally, and that’s an issue. You need to be in Europe really to get used to mud riding.

Saying that, my training always stays the same, I make sure I peak at the right time because sometimes people over-train and they don’t get the results. They’re already burned out before the race has even begun.

On the final round I didn’t have much pressure because my task was to finish in the top eight to secure the title and I managed to do that. The biggest pressure was that the bike might not make it, so that was on my mind during the last 100kms, because the race was mine to lose, but the machine can always let you down. I had some technical problems with the bike that I tried to fix and I tried not to go all out because I had it all to lose.

The rain made it hard though, because no matter how much it rains in the desert we don’t get mud so you can’t prepare for it. So I lack the technique needed for riding on it and those guys have a lot more experience than I do on that terrain. It’s a lot of small details you need to know to be able to handle muddy surfaces.

In terms of my recovery fitness I’m already back in the gym, I did a 35km ride in the bike in the gym to loosen up a few days after the event. For me the training week is the hardest part, the race is the easier bit. When I’m training I give it my all and try to peak at the exact right time. The race is hard but really the hard work is done before you even start.

I’m going to be doing local races next so I’m looking forward to this and I’m hoping that’ll get my fitter in time for Dakar 2019. I like to be busy with training and riding though; it’s a great life, full of excitement.

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