The controversial Romano Fenati is set to return to Grand Prix racing in 2019, reportedly with his former team, Snipers, but with a demotion to the Moto3 class.
The 22-year-old Fenati had his racing license revoked by the International Motorcycling Federation after the now infamous incident in the Misano Moto2 race where he reached over and applied the front brake on another Stefano Manzi‘s motorcycle. Here’s the video of the incident again:
Fenati was brought before the FIM on Sept. 18 to explain his actions. A few days later, the FIM decided to withdraw Fenati’s license but left open the opportunity for Fenati to receive a new license in 2019 “subject to the conditions laid down in the FIM Regulations.”
While there was speculation Fenati may decide to give up racing, it now looks like he’ll be given another chance. Today, the FIM released a provisional entry list for the 2019 Grand Prix World Championship, including Fenati on the Moto3 roster joining Tony Arbolino with Snipers (which has been rebranded as “Team O”).
Snipers had fired Fenati after the Misano incident, while the MV Agusta Forward Racing team terminated a contract that would have seen Fenati race for the Italian manufacturer’s return to Grand Prix racing next season in Moto2. Instead, Fenati will drop down a tier and return to Moto3 where he raced from 2012-2017. MV Agusta replaced Fenati’s spot with Swiss racer Dominique Aegerter, who will be joined, ironically, by the target of Fenati’s track rage, Manzi.
So, does this mean all is forgiven? Probably not. Fenati, who has had a history of clashes with other racers and was notoriously sacked by Valentino Rossi‘s Sky Racing VR46 team, will likely be kept on a tight leash. The FIM’s list of 2019 riders is, of course, still “provisional.” Fenati may be allowed to race again, but he has a long way to go to rebuild trust with the rest of the paddock.