This possibly homicidal MotoGP rider is your sports villain of the week/year/decade
Maybe you don't remember Road Rash. It's a little obscure, which doesn't exactly make for great opening paragraph reference material, but it was a '90s racing video game franchise that blended open roads, Soundgarden jams, Easy Ridin' choppers, and PvP combat—including chain-wrapped fists, baseball bats, and more—into a glorious Tipper Gore-triggering whole. At very first blush, that's what this almost unthinkable MotoGP highlight from the weekend reminds me of:
But then you watch it. And then you watch it again. And then you realize that grabbing another rider's handbrake at 140 MPH (!) mid-motorcycle race is really less of a nostalgia trip and more of an actual, prosecutable crime.
Allegedly, the whole thing began a few turns before, when Stefano Manzi ran Romano Fenati off the track in a failed pass attempt. Fenati, apparently enraged by the overtake, then roared back alongside Manzi, misplaced his mind, and gave his competitor's massive, elephant stopping disc brake a little squeezy squeeze. Manzi managed to hold on to it, but the damage was already done.
Fenati was immediately black flagged (DQ'd in racing parlance), but the fallout within the MotoGP community was just as swift and just as severe. Manzi was promptly suspended for the the next two Moto2 races, while Fenati's current team, Marinelli Snipers, terminated his contract for the remainder of the season. To make matters worse, Fenanti's 2019 ride, Augusta MV, then did the same.
Fenati, for his part, has been contrite, apologizing to the "whole sporting world" and saying that he wants the incident "to just have been a bad dream." Unfortunately for everyone involved, it wasn't, and for that reason Romano Fenati is your sports villain of the week/day/year forever.