Italian rider Romano Fenati has apologised after being sacked by his team for pulling a rival’s brake lever while racing at 140 miles per hour.
Fenati was black-flagged and 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, but some have called for Fenati to be banned for life from the sport.
Fenati was given a suspension of two grands prix, but has subsequently been sacked by his Marinelli Snipers team, while the owner of his future employer, MV Agusta, says the rider’s contract for 2019 will be torn up.
Fenati on Monday issued an apology on the MotoGP website, during which he referred to an earlier incident in the race with Manzi, which saw Manzi rebuked by officials for causing Fenati to leave the track.
“I apologise to the world of sport,” Fenati’s statement said.
“This morning, with a lucid mind, I wish it had just been a bad dream.
“I think about and think back to those moments, I made a disgraceful gesture, I was not a man. I shouldn’t have reacted to provocation.
“The criticisms are correct and I understand the animosity towards me.
“I want to apologise to everyone who believed in me and all those who felt hurt by my action. A horrible image of me and of the sport has come out.
“I’m not like that, people who know me well know that.”
Fenati in 2015 was penalised for kicking out at Finnish rider Niklas Ajo, whose engine he also turned off at practice starts.
Fenati added: “It’s true, unfortunately I have an impulsive character, but my intention was certainly not to hurt a rider like me, rather I wanted to make him understand that what he was doing was dangerous and how I could also have done something similar to what he did to me.
“I do not want to justify myself, I know that my actions were not justifiable, I just want to apologise to everyone.
“Now I will have time to reflect and clear my head.”
The condemnation of Fenati was swift, with his sacking on Monday morning.
Marinelli Snipers team said in a statement: “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 any 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.”